Malaysia Airlines Bhd. (MAB) may bring aircraft out of storage to cover for Airbus A380s while they undergo maintenance checks this year.
In its latest strategy update, MAB says its A380 fleet is due for scheduled maintenance starting around April 1, and this will require one A380 at a time to be out of service through this year.
The airline says it is “exploring reinstating a former flagship aircraft” to temporarily replace A380 capacity on the Kuala Lumpur-London route where the A380s are mainly used. The carrier is not clarifying what type of “former flagship aircraft” and stressed it is still considering alternatives. However, one option is believed to be activating a Boeing 747-400. The carrier previously used 747s on its London route, but parked its last ones in 2012.
MAB currently has six A380s. It attempted to sell two as part of its new fleet strategy but recently shelved the sale plans and will keep all of its A380s for now (Aviation Daily, Feb. 16).
The carrier is due to begin receiving A350-900s beginning in October 2017. In its strategy update, the airline notes that these aircraft will be able to operate non-stop from Kuala Lumpur to London, a possible indication that they are seen as eventual replacements for the A380s on this route. MAB has agreed to lease four A350s, and it is considering leasing another two.
A new A330 with lie-flat business-class seats will be introduced on the airline’s Sydney route by the end of March. They will be installed in the remainder of its A330s by the end of August.
MAB CEO Christoph Mueller says the carrier is making “steady progress” in key areas of its restructuring plan. This resulted in unit revenue rising 10% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016.