Malaysia Airlines ditches Boeing 777s in fleet overhaul

Malaysia Airlines has retired all of its Boeing 77-200s
Malaysia Airlines has retired all of its Boeing 77-200s

Malaysia Airlines has retired its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft as part of its ongoing restructuring plan.

Providing an update on its turnaround efforts, the national carrier confirmed that its new codeshare partnership with Emirates, which involves routing its westbound traffic through Dubai, has allowed it to retire its B777-200s. Two of these aircraft were previously lost in the MH370 and MH17 incidents.

To partially replace these long-haul jets, Malaysia Airlines has ordered four brand new Airbus A350-900s, which will be delivered from October 2017. The company said that the seat layout of the new aircraft is “now finalised”, although details have not been revealed.

Following the retirement of the B777s, the airline’s long-haul fleet now stands at just 21 aircraft – 15 A330-300s and six A380s. The A380s are due to undergo maintenance from the second quarter this year, which will mean at least one aircraft being out of service for the remainder of 2016.

Malaysia Airlines said it is considering reinstating “a former flagship aircraft”, potentially the Boeing 747-400, on the Kuala Lumpur-London route to minimise disruption.

Meanwhile, the airline’s fleet of A330s are being revamped with the introduction of new flat-bed seats in business class. The first jet to feature these products will be put into service on the KL-Sydney route by the end of this month, and the complete cabin overhaul programme will be finished by 31 August 2016.

Referring to the company’s broader restructuring plans, CEO Christoph Mueller said the airline was “making steady progress”.

“We are focused on building momentum with our restructuring in 2016. Diligent execution on efficiency and tighter cost controls has already produced results which have seen us emerging leaner and more focused. There is still plenty to be done but the group is working hard to ensure that Malaysia Airlines succeeds and prospers for the years to come,” Mueller said.

Malaysia Airlines launched its Emirates partnership late last month, codesharing on the Gulf carrier’s KL-Dubai flights and onwards to destinations across Europe, the Middle East, North America and Africa. This had led to Malaysia Airlines suspending its own KL-Dubai flights.

“The codeshare is an integral part of the airline’s future network plan as it focuses on getting customers connected globally, opening up a host of new destinations for customers by providing unprecedented access to Emirates’ network. The first phase of the agreement will see 11 destinations introduced, including Rome, Paris, Madrid and Frankfurt, with the rest being added progressively over the next few months subject to regulatory approvals,” the airline said.

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