Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), the parent company of Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l), is returning its six inactive A380-800s to Airbus in a deal reportedly reached during recent negotiations to acquire twenty A330-900Ns. The first of the A380s - 9M-MNA (msn 78) - only arrived at the airline in 2012. Collectively, they were deployed on select routes to Europe, Australia, and within Asia.

Malaysia Airlines parked its A380s in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. In July 2021, the airline issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting bids for the sale of the six planes but attracted no serious interest.

In mid-August 2022, MAG ordered twenty A330neo jets on behalf of Malaysia Airlines. A total of 10 planes will be directly purchased from Airbus with a back-to-back sale/lease-back arrangement with Avolon, while the remaining 10 will be leased directly from Avolon. When the deal was announced, there was no mention of the fine print facilitating the A380s return. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, all six Malaysia Airlines A380s are inactive and stored at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

"The plan is for Airbus to take back all the aircraft by the end of this year. It's up to them what they want to do with the aircraft." an airline source told Malaysia's New Straits Times, adding that discussions about precise return dates and where the A380s would be sent are ongoing.

In a statement provided to ch-aviation, a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson said that "Malaysia Aviation Group plans to retire and exit A380 by the end of 2022. However, the terms related to the deal with Airbus remain confidential." Airbus also declined to provide further details, citing confidentiality.