MAS SET TO SEAL 42-JET DEAL
Carrier plans to lease 12 used aircraft and buy up to 30 new planes, says Bellew
MALAYSIA Airlines Bhd (MAS) plans to seal deals for as many as 42 widebody jets over the next few months as the unprofitable carrier seeks to rebuild its long-haul network following a surge in demand.
Terms should be agreed in the next six to eight weeks for the lease of up to a dozen used Airbus SE A330 or Boeing 777 aircraft, said chief executive officer Peter Bellew in an interview.
That could be followed later in the first half by an order for 25 to 30 new Boeing 787s or A330neos, as the upgraded Airbus model is known, potentially worth more than US$7 billion (RM31 billion).
Bellew is looking to expand wide-body operations after the national carrier slashed its fleet and route network in response to a bookings slump that followed two fatal plane crashes in 2014.
Sales have now recovered to the extent that the carrier posted an 81 per cent load factor in the fourth quarter of last year, including a 90 per cent occupancy rate in December.
“Things have gone a bit better a bit quicker than I expected,” said Bellew.
Bellew said MAS would seek to take half a dozen leased widebodies in the first half of next year, followed by the same number in 2019, all about six years old.
The 25 or more new jets that Bellew is evaluating would likely be bought direct from Airbus or Boeing and would join the fleet between 2019 and 2023. The reengined A330neo comes in two sizes advertised at US$255 million and US$291 million before discounts, while the 787 Dreamliner has three variants priced between US$225 million and US$306 million.
The airline is also poised to take delivery of six Airbus A350 wide-bodies, allowing it to move the same number of A380 superjumbos to a new sister carrier specialising in carrying people on haj and umrah. Bloomberg
Things have gone a bit better a bit quicker than I expected.” PETER BELLEW Malaysia Airlines Bhd chief executive officer