Order covers passenger aircraft plus new freighter model
Malaysia Airlines has placed a firm order with Airbus for 17 A330 widebody aircraft. The contract firms up a previously announced Memorandum of Understanding for 15 A330-300 passenger aircraft, plus an additional order for two A330-200F Freighters for operation by the carrier's subsidiary MASkargo. Deliveries of the passenger aircraft will begin in the first half of 2011, with the first freighter joining the MASkargo fleet later the same year.
Seating 283 passengers in a high comfort two class layout, the A330-300 will become the mainstay of the carrier's medium haul passenger fleet and will be used on services to destinations across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to the Middle East. In the freight market, MASkargo will fly the aircraft on sectors of up to 3,200 nautical miles, with the capability to carry payloads of almost 70 tonnes.
"The A330s complement the other aircraft orders under our fleet modernisation plan. The ability to add capacity will enable us to offer more frequencies to key destinations and fly to new destinations. This strategy complements our continuous investment in people, systems as well as infrastructure, and positions us in high gear for growth," said Malaysia Airlines Managing Director/CEO, Azmil Zahruddin.
"The latest order from Malaysia Airlines underscores the position of the A330 Family as the most efficient and versatile product line in its class," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. "In addition to the proven reliability and low operating costs of the passenger aircraft, the MAS group will also be one of the first airlines to benefit from the new levels of efficiency coming to the freight market with the A330-200F."
Malaysia Airlines is a long-standing customer of Airbus and currently operates 14 A330s, comprising 11 A330-300s and three long range A330-200s. In addition to the latest A330 order, the carrier also has six A380s on firm order for future operation on its busiest long haul routes.
The twin engine A330 is one of the most widely used widebody aircraft in service today. To date, Airbus has won more than 1,000 orders for the various versions of the aircraft. More than 650 A330s have already been delivered and the aircraft is currently flying with over 80 operators worldwide. The new A330-200F freighter variant is currently at an advanced stage of its certification process and is set to enter commercial service later this year.