Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) expects its wholly-owned subsidiary Malaysia Airlines to buy or lease 60 new narrow bodies over the next seven years, as part of the fleet growth and replacement program. This was shared by MAG group managing director Datuk Captain Izham Ismail recently.
Speaking at the Airline Leader Interview session at the Centre of Aviation (CAPA) Asia Aviation Summit and Sustainability for Excellence Awards 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, he said that the company is still looking for suitable replacements or equivalent models to its current fleet of Boeing 737-800s.
“We’re agnostic of the aircraft type after what we have gone through in the last few months (with Boeing Co.). We’re open to Airbus A220. To a certain extent, what’s wrong with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (Comac)? As long as the fleet meets our mission, vision and aspiration and is commercially favourable to MAG, we’ll go with the aircraft typeMAG Group Managing Director Datuk Captain Izham Ismail
The Airbus A220 is a medium-sized short to mid-range narrow-body aircraft that can fit up to 150 passengers in a two-class configuration from the European manufacturer. The Comac C919 meanwhile is a China-built aircraft that is analogous to the Airbus A320, that can fit up to 158 passengers in a two-class configuration.
When asked, he and his team at MAG are disappointed with the delay in the delivery of the company’s first Boeing 737 MAX 8. The plane was originally supposed to be delivered in August, but the Boeing company has since delayed delivery as the company found issues around the aircraft during a series of test flights in Seattle.
On another note, Malaysia Airlines is also expected to receive its first Airbus A330-900neo in September 2024, the first out of the 20 ordered by the company. The Airbus A330-900neo is an upgrade of the current A330-200 and 300 Malaysia Airlines have in its fleet right now. It can fit up to 440 passengers but also saves fuel up to 14% per passenger flown compared to the current A330-300.
The fleet programme is part of MAG’s Long-Term Business Plan 2.0 to position itself as a leading aviation services group within the region.
Malaysia Airlines currently has in its possession 6 Airbus A350-900, 24 Airbus A330s, and 42 Boeing 737-800s according to Airfleets.net.