Malaysia Airlines to Lease 12 Wide-Body Planes

16th May 2017

National Malaysian carrier, Malaysia Airlines Bhd currently has 77 planes in its fleet. However, the passenger demand is such that it needs more aircraft if it is to cope with the rising demand. To deal with this, MAS will lease 12 wide-bodied planes by the end of 2019.

The dozen new planes, all second-hand, will be employed in the nine key routes in Asia.

The first six aircraft will be delivered to MAS by the end of 2017. The new Airbus A350-XWB will replace the Airbus A380, which will be used on haj flights starting the end of this year. Following that, MAB also expects a delivery of 25 new Boeing B737-MAX 8s, with the first getting delivered at the end of 2019.

According to Peter Bellew, Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer, the demands for MAS services are growing as well are the passenger loads. Overall, according to Bellew, the load factor for this year was 12.9% greater than in the same period last year and was 3.6 million.

Mr. Bellew said:

We just don’t have enough capacity, so we are looking at six wide-bodied A330 for 2018 and six more in 2019. The nine routes are across Japan, Taiwan, China, India and Indonesia. In the longer term, till 2023, we would need 30 to 35 wide-bodied aircraft.

He added:

The biggest challenge is the lack of business class seats, as we have seen a 90% increase in bookings over the last nine months. Wide-bodied planes will have lie-flat beds and twin aisle, which gives great comfort. We would need to build the fleet by 2023 close to 30 to 35 wide-bodied aircraft. We will also need to replace some of the older A330 from 2019 onwards.

The airline will also apparently nix its plan to introduce a premium economy class seats on its new Airbus A350-900 fleet. According to a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson, the idea was to introduce the new class and cater to passengers looking for something between economy and business class, but decided against it in the end. Instead, MAS decided to go with more business class seats.

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