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Disaster-Hit Malaysia Airlines Offloads A380 Superjumbo Fleet

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KUALA LUMPUR: It seems big is no longer best for disaster-hit Malaysia Airlines — it’s said to be offloading its entire fleet of A380 superjumbos.

Malaysia has struggled financially in the wake of twin tragedies in 2014, including the disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine.

Aviation website Leeham News, citing the airline, says Malaysia is offering all six of its A380s for sale or lease.

Restructuring measures also include letting go of its two Boeing 747-400Fs and four Boeing 777-200ERs.

Malaysia Airlines, which has a fleet of about 150 jets, was privatized last year following the two disasters. The airline had been posting losses for three years.

Some 239 people were presumed killed when flight MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

All 298 people on board MH17 were killed when it was shot down over Ukrainian airspace on July 17, 2014.

Neither incident involved an A380.

Leeham says the sale, which comes just days after the A380 celebrated 10 years in the air, will be an interesting hurdle for the superjumbo at a time of mixed fortunes for the aircraft.

“The disposal of all six A380s presents an opportunity to test the market for used A380s and whether a key component to Airbus’ strategy for the superjumbo going forward will work: allow airlines to try out the airplane without having to spent the huge amount of money required to buy new,” it says.

“After experiencing the A380, the theory goes, other carriers will understand how this can spur sales.”

Analysts believe the A380 still has a strong future despite only 317 of the aircraft being sold over the past decade.

They say demand is expected to rise as major aviation hubs become more congested and airlines seek to maximize increasingly scarce access to runways and departure gates. – Agencies

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