Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Peter Bellew says the carrier is in talks with unspecified carriers in China and the ASEAN block over the possible sale of its unwanted fleet of six Rolls Royce-equipped A380-800 aircraft.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Bellew said talks were also underway with Airbus Industire (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) to add ninety more seats to the 494-seater aircraft. The move, if successful, will allow the A380 to continue to operate in a two or three class configuration while increasing its appeal to the second-hand/charter market.
Malaysia Airlines’ fleet of six A380s is currently used exclusively on its flagship Kuala Lumpur Int’l – London Heathrow route. Between November 10, 2016 and July 6, 2017, they will be deployed on a total of 53 charter flights from Malaysia to Madinah and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Contracts with two local travel agencies, Andalusia Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd and Rayhar Travels Sdn Bhd, were signed earlier this year.
Under previous CEO Christoph Mueller, Malaysia Airlines had intended to retain the double-decker quadjets until the middle of 2018 when its first Airbus A350-900 aircraft is supposed to arrive. The carrier is in the midst of a restructuring plan which will see it shy away from longhaul services in favour of a greater presence in the regional Asian market.