Airbus hasn’t won a new airline customer for the world’s biggest commercial jet in almost three years, and now used superjumbos are hitting the market.
Airbus Group is set to face a fresh challenge in reviving sales of its flagship A380 superjumbo as used aircraft hit the market.
Struggling Malaysia Airlines said last week it would like to dispose of two of its six A380s, deliveries of which began three years ago, while two built for bankrupt carrier Skymark Airlines are seeking new owners. Thai Airways International could also sell some of its six planes, all less than 3 years old, people familiar with the situation said.
Airbus hasn’t won a new airline customer for the world’s biggest commercial jet in almost three years and needs to sell close to 30 a year just to break even.
In addition to aircraft deemed excess to requirements, some of the oldest A380s are poised to come off lease, with five flown by Singapore Airlines, the model’s first operator, being offered to other carriers by asset-management firms.
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The A380, marketed as seating about 540 people in three classes, is too large for all but the densest routes, or ones where carriers pack passengers onto fewer flights or must do so because of a lack of airport slots.
Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy said secondhand A380s will be attractive to buyers who would otherwise opt for a smaller and cheaper plane like the Boeing 777 because they’ll be available at similar rates. “Used A380s do not compete with new A380s,” Leahy said.
Only Emirates, which has ordered 140 superjumbos to feed inter-continental traffic through its hub in Dubai, has made the world’s largest commercial airliner a central part of its fleet, rather than a minor element used to serve high-profile destinations.
Used A380s are likely to cost a fraction of the plane’s $428 million list price, yet without a spate of new sales Airbus will face empty production slots from 2018 on.