Malaysia Air­lines to buy 50 Boe­ing jets

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

STRUG­GLING Malaysia Air­lines yes­ter­day an­nounced plans to pur­chase 50 Boe­ing air­craft for US$5.5 bil­lion as it con­tin­ues ef­forts to re­cover from dev­as­tat­ing twin dis­as­ters in 2014 that ren­dered it al­most bank­rupt.

Malaysia’s na­tional flag car­rier said it had placed firm or­ders for 25 Boe­ing 737 MAX jets and had pur­chase rights for an­other 25. De­liv­er­ies are to start in 2019.

New CEO Peter Bellew said the pur­chase of the air­craft, which are known for their fuel ef­fi­ciency, would help with the air­line’s re­cov­ery.

“This deal is a game-changer for Malaysia Air­lines with much lower costs and greater ef­fi­ciency which we will pass on to our loyal cus­tomers with lower fares,” Mr Bellew said in an­nounc­ing the deal.

Malaysia Air­lines cur­rently op­er­ates 56 Boe­ing 737-800s as well as smaller num­bers of Air­bus air­craft.

The dev­as­tat­ing MH370 and MH17 dis­as­ters, which fol­lowed shortly after one an­other in 2014, pushed the peren­ni­ally loss-mak­ing air­line to the brink of bank­ruptcy, as cus­tomers shied away and book­ings dried up.

MH370 dis­ap­peared on March 8 of that year, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing with 239 pas­sen­gers and crew.

De­bris found in the In­dian Ocean has con­firmed the Boe­ing 777 went down but the rea­sons are un­known.

Four months after flight MH370 van­ished, MH17 was blown from the sky by a sus­pected Rus­sian-made ground-to-air mis­sile over war-torn Ukraine, killing all 298 pas­sen­gers and crew on board.

State in­vest­ment fund Khaz­anah Na­sional took the com­pany pri­vate later that year, and in 2015 brought in Ger­man air­line turn­around spe­cial­ist Christoph Mueller.

Mr Mueller soon launched a pain­ful res­cue plan that slashed 6000 jobs and dra­mat­i­cally trimmed its route net­work.

But he abruptly an­nounced in April that he would be leav­ing well be­fore the end of his three-year con­tract for un­spec­i­fied “per­sonal rea­sons”.

He was suc­ceeded on July 1 by Mr Bellew, an Ir­ish for­mer ex­ec­u­tive with Ire­land-based low-cost car­rier RyanAir. –

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