PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia Airlines Bhd, an airline unit of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), is expanding its fleet by adding 20 new Airbus A330-900 neo (new engine option) to its fleet starting from 2024 to 2028.
Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said 10 of the 20 aircraft would be purchased directly from Airbus while the other 10 to be back-to-back sale and leaseback arrangements with Dublin-based Avolon.
"The acquisition of the A330neo is a natural transition from our current A330ceo (current engine option) fleet," Izham said at the commercial aircraft replacement announcement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony here today.
"This is a significant milestone as MAG moves towards the successful execution of our Long-Term Business Plan 2.0 to position itself as a leading aviation services group within the region," he added.
Also present was Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong and Airbus chief commercial officer and head of international Christian Scherer.
Izham said the 20 new A330neo with 300 seats in two classes would join Malaysia Airlines' fleet of six A350-900 and gradually replace its 21 A330ceo aircraft, which were ageing and needed higher cost for maintenance.
The widebody aircraft, powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, will operate the national carrier's network in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East upon delivery, which will start the second half of 2024 through to 2028.
"The transaction includes 20 A330neo purchase rights to provide flexibility for the Group to realise future growth opportunities," Izham said, adding that the MoU also included the purchase of spare Trent 7000 engines and engine maintenance services from Rolls-Royce TotalCare Agreement.
Izham said the A330neo would not only provide fleet modernisation and enhanced operational efficiency, but would also meet environmental targets through reduced fuel-burn per seat, while keeping passenger safety and comfort at its core.
In addition to the renewal of the widebody fleet, Airbus and MAG also signed a letter of intent (LOI) to study a wider collaboration in the areas of sustainability, training, maintenance and airspace management.
Scherer said Malaysia Airlines's decision was a clear endorsement of the A330neo as the most efficient option in this size category for premium operations.
"Malaysia Airlines is one of the great Asian carriers and we're proud to be its preferred supplier of widebody aircraft. It's also the clear winner in terms of in-flight comfort and we are looking forward to working with Malaysia Airlines to define an exceptional cabin," he said.
Incorporating the latest generation engines, a new wing and a range of aerodynamic innovations, Airbus said the aircraft offered up to 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.
The A330neo features the award-winning Airspace cabin, providing passengers with a new level of comfort, ambience and design.
This includes offering more personal space, larger overhead bins, a new lighting system and the ability to offer the latest in-flight entertainment systems and full connectivity.
As with all Airbus aircraft, the A330neo also features a state-of- the-art cabin air system ensuring a clean and safe environment during the flight.
As at the end of July 2022, the A330neo received more than 270 firm orders from over 20 customers worldwide.