The first Airbus A380 superjumbos could reportedly be broken up and sold for parts amid low demand for the giant passenger aircraft.
The double-decker aircraft entered service ten years ago with the promise of a more comfortable flying experience but airlines are struggling to sell on the oldest versions, The Times reported.
Instead some could now be “parted out” to recover engines and other spares valued at £78 million per aircraft according to Dr Peters Group, a German fund manager.
The company owns four A380s which are due to be returned from a ten-year lease with Singapore Airlines.
Dr Peters has also asked a Swiss company to find VIP customers for the aircraft which are being billed as Air Force One-style private jets.
Breaking up the aircraft is potentially the next most lucrative option since the lease requires engines, landing gear and auxiliary power units to be returned as new.
It could signal the start of a market for parts in the 550-seat A380 meaning more of the aircraft could be heading for the scrapyard.
Anselm Gehling, chief executive of Dr Peters, told Bloomberg his goal was to find new leases,
But he added: “We’re also willing to sell the aircraft as some airlines told us they’d prefer that. Still, there are hardly any spare parts around when it comes to engines for A380s, so it may make sense to do a part-out for the first one or two aircraft returning.”
Gehling said talks were continuing with airlines including a budget Asian carrier which would fill them with 700 seats.
Airlines are trying to find new ways to fill the aircraft, including Malaysia Airlines which is aiming to form a fleet to transport Muslim travellers on the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Airbus has been struggling to sell the aircraft and is offering to introduce fuel-saving measures and 80 extra seats.
About 300 orders have been made by 19 airlines, with more than 200 delivered, nearly half of which have gone to Emirates.
Boeing, the rival to Airbus, has dropped its largest aircraft from its 20-year forecast, seeing no future for giant planes.
Airbus was confident there was a demand for second-hand A380s.