CANCUN, MEXICO, 8 June 2017: Malaysia Airlines is close to signing deals for six or seven second-hand A330 planes for its fleet this year as it seeks to grow international routes amidst good demand for summer bookings, its chief executive told Reuters on the sidelines of the IATA annual general meeting earlier this week.
Malaysia Airlines has been in talks with airlines and leasing companies about bringing in used wide-body planes to replace older aircraft that it currently flies on routes to India, China and Hong Kong.
Earlier in the year the airline said it would off-load six Airbus A380s or use them for charter and pilgrimage flights and on some high density routes to Japan and South Korea. Currently they are used to fly a double daily service to London.
In the latest update the airline is now seeking to beef up the fleet with second-hand or leased A330s.
“We’ve found the planes, we’re in the process of doing due diligence,” said the airline’s CEO Peter Bellew told Reuters who is attending the International Air Transport Association AGM in Mexico.
He said he hopes to sign a deal in July and the planes, which have Wi-Fi and lie-flat seats in business, could enter the airline’s fleet by the end of the year.
Bookings for the next six months are looking good and yields – a measure of revenue per passenger – are up around 10% from a year earlier in June, July and August after coming under pressure at the start of the year, Bellew told the wire service.
Uncertainty over failed travel bans in the United States and political turmoil in Europe has driven demand from travellers in the Middle East and India, Bellew said.
“We’ve seen a significant upturn in business from India because of that and I think that’s only set to continue.”