‘We’ll add bigger aircraft, routes’
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia Airlines Bhd plans to add more wide bodied aircraft and open 11 new routes this year, its chief executive officer Peter Bellew said yesterday.
He said the airline needed between 10 and 12 additional aircraft.
Currently, Malaysia Airlines has six Airbus 380; 15 A330 and 54 Boeing 737.
Bellew said business was booming for the national carrier, especially its international route, which had been “extremely strong”.
He was bullish about its China routes with an increasing number of tourists visiting Malaysia, especially to Sabah and Sarawak.
“The potential from China is enormous. It is far bigger than what I thought six months ago. I am pretty bullish about it.”
Bellew said the airline was well on the road to recovery.
“In the last nine months, we have seen Malaysia Airlines’ load factor grow by 15 per cent.
“Last December, we had the highest load factor of any full service carrier in the world at 90 per cent, higher than American Airlines, British Airways and even Singapore Airlines.
“This year, we are introducing 11 routes, the most in the history of Malaysia Airlines in one year. Next year, we are evaluating about 26 new routes,” he said.
Bellew also said the national carrier would start hiring staff towards the end of this year.
“We need more staff, including pilots, crew and engineers,” he said, adding that Malaysia Airlines had about 1,100 pilots on its payroll.