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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Turkish Mulls Leasing A380s from Malaysia

Malaysia Airbus A380-800
Reports have surfaced that Turkish Airlines (TK) is considering leasing two Airbus A380s from Malaysia Airlines (MH).

TK had previously been reported as being in negotiations with Airbus to acquire 10 or more of the superjumbo airliners.

The largest aircraft currently in TK's fleet is the Boeing 777-300ER (B773), configured to carry 337 passengers. MH's A380 is configured to hold 494 total.

Turkish 777-300ER
This may be a greatly beneficial move for both airlines. TK would have a quick and relatively easy way to acquire A380s for a "test drive" to see if its presence in the TK works with the airline's operations and expansion plans without a long term commitment. 

Financially-strapped MH, on the other hand, gets to offload the costs of a huge, expensive-to-operate aircraft it no longer needs. MH is in the midst of a intensive restructuring effort to bring the carrier out of massive operating losses, fueled in large part by the dramatic losses of two separate flights last year.

MH370 disappeared in March under mysterious circumstances, and MH17 was shot down over Ukraine-Russia border by parties unknown. There were a total of 537 souls on board the two flights.

One can't blame MH for offloading its flagship aircraft. A 6 aircraft order for A380s led to the downfall of Japanese low-cost carrier Skymark (BC), which recently declared bankruptcy in large part because it could not fulfill the order. 

Airbus is seeking a penalty payment of up to 70 billion JPY (US$589.5 million) for the canceled order, on top of the 26 billion JPY (US$21.9 million) already paid by BC.

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