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Malaysia Airlines' fleet strategy: still a work in progress following A330-200 and 787-9 deals

Malaysia Airlines has completed the first phase of its post restructuring fleet plan with the lease of six second hand A330-200s and the purchase of eight new 787-9s. Along with six A350-900s, 15 737 MAX 8s and 10 737 MAX 10s, the airline now has commitments for 45 aircraft, which will all be delivered over the next five years.

Most of the aircraft will be used as replacements as Malaysia Airlines phases out A380s, A330-300s and 737-800s. The six A330-200s will be delivered in 2018 and will replace six 737-800s, enabling the airline to upgauge several regional routes within Asia.

A resumption of European expansion is also in the pipeline, initially using two of the A350-900s in mid 2018, and then using the 787-9s in late 2019 or 2020. Malaysia Airlines still needs to acquire at least 20 more new generation widebody aircraft; it is considering additional 787-9s or A330-900neos and could potentially pursue an early phase-out of the A350 fleet, which would reduce the number of widebody types to a more sensible number.

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