Following a special media briefing on 27th September, Malaysia Airlines has issued a statement clarifying its current and future fleet strategy. The statement confirms a number of key points, including the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the lease of six second hand Airbus 330-200 aircraft. These new aircraft will replace six narrowbody Boeing 737 that are being returned to lessors and allow MAS to bridge the next generation wide-body aircraft orders.
These A330-200 aircraft, leased for six years from AerCap are expected to begin arriving from February 2018. They will mainly be used to up-gauge several high-demand medium haul routes. The Letter of Intent was signed today.
The aircraft features are very similar to Malaysia Airlines’ current A330-300 fleet and use the same Pratt & Whitney engines. Malaysia Airlines is negotiating a maintenance support programme with Pratt & Whitney. The six aircraft will have a two class configuration. The 287 seats include 19 fully lie flat Business Class seats, featuring WiFi and new IFE on all seats.
In an earlier statement on 21st September, MAS CEO Peter Bellew confirmed a firm order of 25 Boeing 737 aircraft and options on other types of aircraft, including both new and used aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. This strategy provides Malaysia Airlines with more flexibility in matching aircraft to the current operational environment.
He added today, that
…. We are working hard on bringing the airline to a competitive cost position. We also want to rebuild Malaysia Airlines so we can reassume our previous premier position in the industry. The current lease rates are incredibly competitive and we are being opportunistic by leasing them at this point. We have an immediate need for widebodies to offer more lie flat beds in Business Class on our flights over three hours. Malaysia Airlines has done an opportunistic deal on super aircraft from a failed European carrier. I am grateful to AerCap for their speed in working with Malaysia Airlines to help rebuild our premium business. Peter Bellew
Malaysia Airlines currently operates six A380s, fifteen A330-300s and forty-eight B737-800s