Tuesday, 8 August 2017

30% Savings for MH with the A350

The Malaysian national airline hopes to make substantial on its popular, yet difficult London - Kuala Lumpur - London route towards the end of the year when it starts flying the new Airbus A350.

Malaysian Airlines say they expect costs to fall by around 30% when the new jets take to the skies from the end of this year and into the first quarter of 2018. Much of the savings will come from the better fuel economy the A350 has over the double decked A380's which currently fly the route. "The impact on yields will not be as bad, and we will not be as exposed to high operating costs. We expect unit cost to come down by around 30%, as compared to operating the A380," Izham Ismail, Malaysia Airlines CEO explained during a briefing in Singapore.

During the briefing that took place at the Airbus Training Centre, Izham Ismail confirmed that at times the airline had some difficulty filling up the A380 at certain times of the year.  Malaysia Airlines operate two daily flights using the A380's on route, which has been the carrier's only European route since early 2016 when they dropped Paris and Amsterdam from their schedules. 

Malaysia Airlines plans to lease in six A350-900s from Air Lease, with two arriving before the end of this year and the rest arriving before the end of April next year.  During the briefing Ismail advised the airline was still working out some more potential routes to be operated by the new A350 aircraft, which might include Seoul and / or Tokyo. 

The configuration for the new extra wide body airliner looks set to have 4 first class seats, 35 in business class and 247 making up economy. The airline expects to need 144 flight crew to either be rerated or hired to pilot the new A350. 

The future of the Malaysia Airlines A380's looks less than certain, there are some vague plans for a new charter side line or subsidiary company to be set up which would take on the super jumbos and use them on speciality operations such as the Hajj pilgrimage from 2019.  

Jason Shaw

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