Malaysia Airlines has signed an agreement to lease four A350-900s.
The aircraft will be delivered between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.
The deal with Air Lease Corporation also includes an option to lease two additional A350-900s and two A330-900 neo aircraft.
So, it now seems almost certain that MAB will phase out its tired B777-200s in favour of state-of-the-art A350s.
MAB has only one modern plane type, the A380, which is capable of flying between Kuala Lumpur and Europe non-stop. While the airline also operates a small fleet of modern A330s, these are used for regional services and cannot fly non-stop to Europe.
But the A380 is too large for both Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles De Gaulle, so MAB operates B777-200s to both airports.
And the airline has six superjumbos, yet needs just four to operate its twice-daily service to London Heathrow.
Therefore, it has two surplus A380s for which it cannot, as yet, find a buyer. It used one of these surplus aircraft to fly the Real Madrid football team to Australia in July.
The A350s, which will have competitive onboard seating, will not arrive for over two years. By that time, one hopes that MAS will be in a better financial situation.
Christoph Mueller, Malaysia Airlines’ CEO, said: “The A350 is the most technologically advanced aircraft and we are confident that it will deliver exceptional passenger comfort and improve the overall efficiency of our fleet.”
Earlier this month, Malaysia Airlines “relaunched” as Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) (see news, September 1).
Graham Smith and Alex McWhirter