LONDON — Following years of uncertainty and instability from the carrier, Malaysia Airlines looks to be on its way to recovery. They announced a deal with AerCap for six Airbus A330-200’s which will come from Air Berlin, a career that has also faced uncertainty due to its bankruptcy. The aircraft is due to be delivered in February 2018 and will be on a six-year lease until the end of 2023 respectively.
The six aircraft that they have placed an LOI with are replacements for Boeing 737 aircraft that are to be returned back to the lessor. With the added seat capacity, it means that Malaysia Airlines can focus on the domestic networks much more heavily and potentially expand into other areas across Asia. The aircraft is going to be used for the upgauged demand that they have been experiencing as a carrier.
It is said that the aircraft is going to be configured via a two-class configuration, with 287 seats in Economy and 19 Business Class seats. The aircraft additions are part of Malaysia Airlines’ five-year program called the MAS Recovery Program (MRP) which is used for the “resetting of the airline’s operating business model towards a competitive cost position, with a focus on the network and revenue management.” The MRP was initiated in August 2014 which set out the foundations for the airline’s recovery as well as the airline’s path back into profit. This program was in result of the tragedies of MH17 and MH370 which damaged the reputation and also reduced profit and revenue levels significantly.
Commenting on this was Group CEO Peter Bellew said, “As laid out in the MRP, 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.”
Bellew also added that he was “grateful” for the speed that leasing company AerCap took when making the deal as they wanted to capitalize on potential aircraft to buy, especially from a failed airline like AirBerlin. These A330-200’s will add to the carrier’s fleet of six A380s, 15 A330-300s, and 48 B737-800s.
Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof, the chairman of Malaysia Airlines expressed a sense of gratefulness when given the opportunity to acquire these aircraft. He said, “I am pleased to share that Malaysia Airlines saw a gap in our service a year ago and this foresight has enabled us to act swiftly when this opportunity of potentially adding six very affordable widebody aircraft, arose. The right aircraft at the right time at the right price is key to our success and these aircraft will enable us to create much-improved customer experience as we move towards transforming the airline into a premium 5-star carrier once again.”