Malaysia Airlines has signed a provisional agreement to acquire 20 Airbus A330neos to replace its ageing fleet of A330 widebody jets in a deal that also involves aircraft leasing company Avolon.
The airline will buy 10 of the planes from Airbus and then execute a sale-and-leaseback deal with Avolon, with the other 10 leased directly from Avolon. The planes, which will have Rolls-Royce engines, are scheduled to be delivered from the third quarter of 2024 through 2028.
Avolon said separately that deliveries will begin in 2024 and that it will finance all of the planes, with the 10 bought by the carrier set to be purchased on sale-and-leaseback terms.
The aircraft will join the carrier’s fleet of six long-range A350-900s and gradually replace its 21 A330ceo aircraft. The model is a re-engined version of the original A330 that the airline already operates, obviating the need for pilots to go through expensive retraining.
The fleet upgrade, which includes purchase rights for another 20 A330neos, comes amid signs of a pick-up in demand for widebody jets after a lengthy downturn. From East Asia to the Gulf, several airlines are renewing widebody fleets as international air traffic recovers from its pandemic lows.
“The A330neo will not only provide modernisation to our fleet and enhanced operational efficiency, but also meet environmental targets through reduced fuel-burn per seat while keeping passenger safety and comfort at its core.
The innovative, cost effective, successful tripartite approach offers a holistic solution to fleet owners that is financially viable for MAG as we secure a lower and stable cost base, and with assurance of support financing.
This is a significant milestone as the Group moves ahead towards the successful execution of our Long-Term Business Plan 2.0 to position itself as a leading aviation services Group within the region.”Izham Ismail, CEO, Malaysia Airlines
The airline said it was also working with Airbus on a wider collaboration in Malaysia in areas including sustainable aviation fuel, training, maintenance and airspace management.
Malaysia Airlines, which cut its debt burden by more than half as part of a restructuring agreed with creditors last year, has said it aims to return to profit in 2023 as demand improves.
“Malaysia Airlines is one of the great Asian carriers and we are proud and humbled to be its preferred supplier of widebody aircraft. The decision is a clear endorsement of the A330neo as the most efficient option in this size category for premium operations.”Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, Airbus
The A330neos, all of which are the larger A330-900 model, will have 300 seats and a two-class layout and operate on the airline’s existing network throughout Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.
Parent Malaysia Aviation Group has been cash-flow positive since the fourth quarter of last year, with capacity restored to 60% of pre-Covid levels. The stronger-than-expected recovery in air travel has provided a boost for planemakers following a hiatus during the pandemic, with wide-body demand now picking up after an earlier rebound in single-aisle sales.
The A330neo is the new generation version of the popular A330 widebody. Incorporating the latest generation engines, a new wing and a range of aerodynamic innovations, the aircraft offers a 25% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The A330-900 is capable of flying 7,200nm / 13,300km non-stop.
The A330neo features the award-winning Airspace cabin, providing passengers with a new level of comfort, ambience and design. This includes offering more personal space, larger overhead bins, a new lighting system and the ability to offer the latest in-flight entertainment systems and full connectivity.
As with all Airbus aircraft, the A330neo also features a state-of-the-art cabin air system ensuring a clean and safe environment during the flight. As of the end of July 2022, the A330neo has received more than 270 firm orders from over 20 customers worldwide.