Malaysia Airlines Bhd will lease a dozen second-hand wide-body aircraft untill the end of year 2019 while waiting for new aircraft deliveries, as it does not have enough capacity to serve nine key routes across Asia. A decision on the type of aircraft will be made by the end of June.
Passenger loads were rising and demand for the airline’s services, including business class, was growing.
They don’t have enough capacity, so they are looking at six wide-body A330 for 2018 and six more in 2019. The nine routes are across Japan, Taiwan, China, India and Indonesia. In the longer term, untill 2023, they would need 30 to 35 wide-body aircraft.
The airline will take delivery of the first of six new A350-XWB aircraft by year-end, which will be used to replace the A380 superjumbos that will be converted to cater to haj flights under a plan named “Project Hope”. The haj flights will begin at the end of the year.
The airline has also ordered 25 of the new B737-Max 8 planes, with delivery deadlines starting from the end of 2019.
The biggest challenge is the lack of business class seats, as they have seen a 90% increase in bookings over the last nine months. Wide-body planes will have lie-flat beds and twin aisle, which gives great comfort.