LONDON – according to Bangkok post Malaysia Airlines is in talks with carriers in China and Southeast Asia about offloading its six Airbus A380 jets because the giant double-deckers are no longer needed, chief executive officer Peter Bellew said.
The company is also negotiating with Airbus to add 90 more seats to each of the superjumbos to make them more marketable while retaining the ability to operate the aircraft in a two or three class configuration, Mr Bellew, who took over on July 1, said in an interview on Friday.
If direct buyers are not found Malaysia is prepared to offer the planes for lease with access to its A380 simulator, or complete with pilots and cabin crew, he said. There were a number of airlines in the region “keen to dip their toe in the water”. (continues below)
An Airbus A380 operated by Malaysia Airlines.
Malaysia Air no longer wants the A380s as it focuses more on Asian routes and prepares to take delivery of six smaller Airbus A350s, which will replace the superjumbos on routes such as Kuala Lumpur-London.
Mr Bellew said the carrier is looking at beefing up its fleet with three of four used Airbus A330s with engines from Pratt & Whitney, like the 18 already in operation.
Airbus’s A321 model, which former CEO Christoph Mueller had said the carrier might buy, is now less likely to join the fleet, Mr Bellew said. Malaysia placed an order for 25 737 Max 8 jets in July for delivery from 2019 and has options including the Max 9 model that could perform most longer flights.
The airline is in talks about 15 new routes to China, Japan and South Korea as the new CEO carries forward Mueller’s Asia-focused strategy. Of those the most attractive three to six are likely to go ahead, with an announcement due as early as next month.
Passenger confidence in Malaysia Air, now fully owned by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, collapsed two years ago after Flight MH370 bound for Beijing vanished on March 8, 2014 and another of its planes was shot down over Ukraine four months later.
Mr Bellew said perceptions of the company have now greatly improved both in Malaysia and the crucial Chinese market, which is again one of the strongest for the airline. Demand levels from Australia and New Zealand are less stable because of overcapacity, he said.
Malaysia Air said earlier that cost cuts initiated by Mr Bellew’s predecessor should help deliver a loss this year that is 15 to 20% lower than anticipated, and that it remains on track to post a profit in 2018.
Source : Bangkok post