KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — Malaysia Airlines is returning its six idle Airbus A380-800 superjumbos to Airbus as part of a deal signed between two companies for the sale of 20 A330-900s to the Malaysian flag carrier.

Malaysia Airlines withdrew its A380s from the service in 2020 when the pandemic caused border closures and hit international air travel. In July 2021, the airline issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to sell those planes but couldn't attract any interest from other airlines, lessors, and aircraft parts suppliers.

In August 2022, Malaysia Airlines placed an order for 20 Airbus A330neo jets. According to the terms of the order agreement, ten planes would be directly delivered by the European airframer with a back-to-back sale/lease-back arrangement with Avolon, while the remaining ten will be leased from the Irish lessor. Returning of Malaysian A380s was not on the agenda when the agreement was signed.

According to the current plan, Airbus will take back all six superjumbos of Malaysian carrier by the end of this year. Both companies declined to comment on how the new deal will affect the transactions for previously ordered 20 A330-900 jets.

Malaysia Airlines took delivery of the first A380 in 2012. Five more joined the airline's fleet over time, and they were deployed on select routes to Europe, Australia, and within Asia.