Thai Airways Lists Two Airbus A380 Superjumbos For Sale

In its next step towards emerging alive and a smaller airline on the other side of its restructuring, Thai Airways has listed two of its Airbus A380 superjumbos for sale. The chances of finding a buyer, however, are slim to non-existent.

Thai selling two A380
Thai Airways has put its two youngest A380s up for sale. Photo: Airbus

As Thai Airways continues its restructuring process, it is once more searching for potential buyers for its aircraft. Previously having launched no less than 32 widebody aircraft, including all of its 747s, onto the second-hand market, now it is looking for someone to take two of its A380 superjumbos.

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Thailand’s borders closed until Q2 2021

The Thai domestic market, aided by a government stimulus package, is showing significant signs of recovery. However, long-haul traffic in and out of the country, which relies on tourism for 20% of its GDP, is still at abysmal levels. Earlier this month, Pipat Ratchakitprakan, Thailand’s Minister for Sports and Tourism, announced that the country’s borders would remain closed for tourists until the second quarter of next year.

Thus, it makes sense that, in a bid to raise cash that has seen everything from cutlery to champagne leave the airline’s stores, a struggling Thai Airways is looking to hand off its behemoths of aircraft.

Thai A380 sale
Thai Airways is hoping to raise more cash as the country’s borders will remain close for up to six months more. Photo: Toshi Aoki – JP Spotters via Wikimedia Commons

Seven years old with 30,000 flight hours

The two A380s, HS-TUE and HS-TUF, were the last to join the fleet in October and November in 2013. They have both been put up for “a market survey to find potential buyers for the items listed” on a website called Thai Aircraft Trading. However,

“The actual sale will take place under the business reorganization plan and would require approvals of relevant stakeholders and the Bankruptcy Court.”

HS-TUE has flown 3,691 flight cycles and just over 30,600 hours. HS-TUF is not far behind with 3,589 cycles and just under 30,000 hours. There is no initial asking price listed, but we can assume that as far as superjumbos go, it would be a bargain and far below the list price of $390 million.

So what are the chances of Thai actually making a successful sale of it? To be frank, close to non-existent. The only A380 to successfully transition to the second-hand market was the one that went from Singapore Airlines to Hi Fly in 2018, and even that is headed for retirement when the lease period is up. 

The only A380 to successfully sell second-hand was the one that went to Hi Fly from Singapore Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

Not the only opportunity to own an A380

More than that, there is already an abundance of A380s out there that are waiting to be scrapped for parts, should they not find someone with a substantial amount of cash and oodles of optimism. Should you so desire, there is the opportunity to pick up one of Air France’s retired A380s from the company Dr. Peters Group.

With airlines not even flying the aircraft they already have, unless someone very wealthy, quite eccentric, and with a burning wish for either an A380 of their own or an all-superjumbo start-up airline comes along, it is hard to imagine a successful sale.

Do you think Thai will manage to sell its A380s? Who would buy them? Let us know in the comments.