Malaysia Airlines is to update its fleet, as it moves to acquire 20 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft for its fleet, as part of the carrier’s widebody fleet renewal programme.
The initial agreements cover the acquisition of 20 A330-900 aircraft, with 10 to be purchased from Airbus and 10 to be leased from Dublin-based Avolon.
The announcement was made at an event in Kuala Lumpur, attended by MAG CEO Izham Ismail and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International Christian Scherer, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the aircraft to be ordered from Airbus. The agreements with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and lessor Avolon were also signed at the ceremony.
In addition to the renewal of the widebody fleet, Airbus and MAG also signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to study a wider collaboration in the areas of sustainability, training, maintenance and airspace management.
No details of the cabin interiors have been released yet – although it would safe to say a variant of the Airspace by Airbus cabin will make an appearance. Other features have yet to be confirmed.
Izham Ismail said:
“The acquisition of the A330neo is a natural transition from our current A330ceo fleet. The A330neo will not only provide fleet modernisation and enhanced operational efficiency, but will also meet environmental targets through reduced fuel-burn per seat, while keeping passenger safety and comfort at its core. This is a significant milestone as MAG moves towards the successful execution of our Long-Term Business Plan 2.0 to position itself as a leading aviation services Group within the region.”
Christian Scherer said:
“Malaysia Airlines is one of the great Asian carriers and we are proud and humbled to be its preferred supplier of widebody aircraft. The decision is a clear endorsement of the A330neo as the most efficient option in this size category for premium operations. It’s also the clear winner in terms of in-flight comfort and we are looking forward to working with Malaysia Airlines to define an exceptional cabin experience.”
Currently, Malaysia Airlines operates a fleet of 15 Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft in its fleet, as well as six Airbus A330-200 (the range-optimised version). The airline also operates the Airbus A350-900.
The move will consolidate the two A330 fleets into one – although with one less aircraft overall. It will allow for better yield management, with a constant number of seats onboard a type of aircraft (which is a concern when you have two types of A330 in the active fleet and these are not dedicated to routes).
With the selection of the A330-900neo (the payload optimised version of the family), it seems that Malaysia Airlines is making up the difference of one aircraft with a slightly larger aircraft overall, with capacity being a winner rather than sheer fleet size.
There are still things to be shaken out, given this is a Memorandum of Understanding. When this converts into a full order, timelines will become a lot clearer.
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