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We only have firm order for 25 Boeing 737, Malaysia Airlines clarifies

 | September 22, 2017

Everything else, the airline says, is optional, adding that the options will allow it to have flexibility in deciding which aircraft to buy.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines has clarified that it has firm orders with Boeing Co for 25 Boeing 737 aircraft only.

Everything else, it said in a statement, was optional.

It also said funding for all aircraft were planned on a sale-and-operating leaseback or simple operational lease system.

There have been reports recently about Malaysia Airlines’ intention to purchase more aircraft, especially wide-bodied aircraft, and various numbers have been mentioned.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, during his Sept 12 meeting with US President Donald Trump, told him that Malaysia Airlines would buy 25 Boeing 737 jets and eight 787 Dreamliners. Najib said it would probably add another 25 737s in the near future – a deal that would be worth more than US$10 billion within five years.

Also, the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia recently criticised Malaysia Airlines’ plan to purchase additional passenger aircraft, saying it would lead to more financial problems for the company.

Malaysia Airlines explained: “In 2016, we made 25 firm orders for the 737-MAX8 aircraft and 25 options.”

The aircraft were ordered as replacements for existing planes, due for replacement beginning 2019.

In June 2017, the national carrier entered into a new agreement with Boeing to allow it to choose their new larger 737-MAX10 aircraft for 10 out of the previous firm order of 25 737-MAX8.

“With this agreement, Malaysia Airlines can decide to take either the MAX8 or MAX10. The MAX10 aircraft are expected to commence delivery in early 2021.”

It said the recent memorandum of understanding to potentially add eight of the widebody Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to its fleet from Quarter 3 in 2019 was to add capacity to the airline’s widebody fleet and provide a high level of quality on its most lucrative routes.

“The 787-9 has one of the longest ranges of any commercial aircraft and can operate non-stop from Kuala Lumpur to any point in Europe as well as key cities on the west coast of the United States. The same aircraft can similarly operate high quality services to Tokyo or flights of up to 17 hours, offering great flexibility for the airline to manage a variety of market opportunities over the next 20 years.”

It said the list price for the eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft was about US$2.5 billion.

“If the order is confirmed, the initial 787-9 Dreamliner deliveries are planned for operating Asian services. The growth of the Malaysian economy and the increasing globalisation will allow these aircraft to commence new long haul services from 2020 onwards if sufficient profitable demand exists.

It said the airline was also considering options with either used Airbus A330-200/300 or new Airbus A330neo aircraft for expansion and replacement of existing aircraft.

“The options, as well as a variety of other arrangements including the recent MoU with Boeing, will allow us to have some flexibility in deciding which aircraft suits our operational environment best.”

The airline said it would carefully evaluate all options to ensure its purchases would make business and operational sense.

Malaysia Airlines currently has 54 aircraft in its fleet of 737-800 with 48 actually operating. The other six will be handed back to lessors in December 2017 and are currently going through a lease return maintenance programme.

In 2018, the statement said, the airline would operate 44 737-800 aircraft daily, with three in maintenance and one available spare. The 48 operating aircraft in the 737-800 fleet start reaching end of lease from early 2019.


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