Malaysia Airlines has this week ordered up to 25 Airbus A330-300 widebody aircraft covering the firm order of 15 Airbus A330-300 with options for another 10. This follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Airbus in December last year.
In addition, the airline has also placed new orders for up to 4 Airbus A330-200F freighters comprising two firm orders and another 2 options.
Deliveries of the passenger aircraft will begin in the first half of 2011, with the first Airbus freighter joining the MASkargo fleet in September 2011.
Seating 283 passengers in a high comfort two class layout, the Airbus A330-300 will become the mainstay of the carrier’s medium haul passenger fleet and will be used on services to destinations across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to the Middle East. In the freight market, MASkargo will fly the aircraft on sectors of up to 3,200 nautical miles, with the capability to carry payloads of almost 70 tonnes.
“The Airbus A330s complements the other aircraft orders under our fleet modernization plan. The ability to add capacity will enable us to offer more frequencies to key destinations and fly to new destinations. This strategy complements our continuous investment in people, systems as well as infrastructure, and positions us in high gear for growth,” said Malaysia Airlines Managing Director/CEO, Azmil Zahruddin.
“On the cargo side, the new freighters will enable us to better serve the intra Asia route, and offer direct services to Europe from India and Bangladesh. This complements our expansion plans in China, and will strengthen our position us as a key niche player in the region,” said Azmil.
By 2015, Malaysia Airlines expects to have one of the youngest, most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly fleets in Asia.
In preparation to add capacity with the availability of new aircraft, Malaysia Airlines has been simulating demand by adding new frequencies which began on the 28th March 2010. These include offering 7 flights weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Paris , 5 weekly flights to Auckland and 10 weekly flights to Perth. There are also new twice weekly direct flights to Brisbane via Kuala Lumpur.
The national carrier is also expected to announce new destinations beginning second quarter of the year.
“The latest order from Malaysia Airlines underscores the position of the Airbus A330 family as the most efficient and versatile product line in its class,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
“In addition to the proven reliability and low operating costs of the passenger aircraft, the MAS group will also be one of the first airlines to benefit from the new levels of efficiency coming to the freight market with the Airbus A330-200F,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines is a long-standing customer of Airbus and currently operates 14 A330s, comprising 11 A330-300s and three long range A330-200s.