Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) Chief Executive Officer Peter Bellew said in an interview that he believes the carrier will get the approval to launch a new carrier catering to haj pilgrims from the Khazanah Nasional Bhd by the end of the current year.
Mr. Bellew said:
Even though we have not started this new airline, it has already generated a huge amount of business for Malaysia Airlines. With the management team in place ... we expect to get the final approval from Khazanah by the end of this year and we will go ahead and launch the airline.
According to him, MAB does not have the capacity to accommodate pilgrims from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for the rest of this year.
Bellew said this during the viewing of the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, at the Airbus assembly line. The aircraft should soon be delivered to MAB and is the newest addition to the Airbus widebody family of planes. Compared to the Airbus A380, the A350 XWB has the relatively same range, but for a lower operating cost.
The MAB CEO said:
It will be a super product for our London flights. Passengers on this aircraft will feel more refreshed when they arrive at their destination. The cost of operating the A350 on our London flights should be about 40% lower compared with the A380. This will give us a greater ability to be profitable on the longer routes. It also has the widest seats of any plane in this category.
The airline will lease the new aircraft for 12 years.
Malaysia is quite cool at the moment in Europe. Malaysia has everything that people in Europe are looking for. It has activities like walking, cycling, hiking, diving and adventure besides being accessible and low cost.
He also said that MAB’s listings are scheduled for 2019, but pointed out that the airline may also look toward other carriers for trade partnerships.
A lot of carriers are taking a minority stake in other airlines. That’s the most prevalent trend happening globally.