The Final Flight Of Malaysian Airlines Airbus A380

November 23rd, 2022
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The Final Flight of Malaysian Airlines Airbus A380

On Monday, an Airbus A380 from Malaysia Airlines took off from Kuala Lumpur Airport for its first international flight since March 2020. The aircraft was not operating as a commercial aircraft, however. It was being ferried to Tarmac Aerosave’s facility in southwest France. The final passenger flight of a China Southern Airbus A380 left last week.

However, the Chinese carrier isn’t the only one looking to stop flying its Airbus A380s. Malaysia Airlines recently announced plans to stop using their Airbus A380 fleet by the end of 2019. That comes after a failed marketing attempt on LinkedIn earlier this year.

Going to France

Earlier today, 9M-MNC took off from Kuala Lumpur Airport, 7th September at 09:11 GMT. It was loaded with fuel, and according to, it was due to take flight 7 hours earlier.

Fourteen hours and eight minutes after taking off from San Francisco International Airport, Northwest Airlines Flight 197 descended to the airport it was originally meant to take off from. However, due to some unfortunateness in the air, elements of that flight stuck around for four more hours before finally touching down on April 24th in Tabes (LDE), France at 15:15h UTC. That’s over 10,000 kilometers and nine time zones later than when they originally planned.

About 9M-MNC

As of July 11, 2018, the Airbus A380 long-haul passenger airliner is 10.68 years old according to fleet database from The aircraft was ordered by Malaysia Airlines almost 19 years ago on December 11th, 2003, though it took its first flight eight months later in March of 2012.

This Boeing passenger aircraft was manufactured in Australia. This plane is equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines and has a three-class cabin. It includes 412 economy seats, 66 business seats, and eight first class seats. To date, it has only spent 26,131 hours in the sky across 2,446 flights. Despite its low mileage, the plane has a market value of $37.64 million and will likely never find another owner due to its limited usage since it was grounded in March 2020.

Why Tarbes?

Air travelers may have seen LDE—Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport in southwest France. It has only commercial schedules from a handful of short-haul carriers including Ryanair, but is home to a collection of widebody aircraft of many sizes and colors. Tarmac Aerosave has a large base at Tarbes and a sister site in Teruel, Spain. They are particularly well known for scrapping aircraft when they are no longer wanted; they also maintain some in storage until they’re needed again.

The Tarbes airport already has a lot of Airbus A380s. According to data from, 19 aircraft have ended up in the airport, with five confirmed to be scrapped. These include examples coming from Air France, Emirates, Etihad, Hi Fly, Lufthansa and now also Malaysia Airlines. While 9M-MNC may just be stored while it’s passed through France on its way to Malaysia, its outlook is looking bleak.