Malaysia Airlines announced (22-Jan-2013) plans to commence A380 service on its Kuala Lumpur-Paris route beginning 01-Mar-2013. The French capital is the second European destination after London in the carrier’s long-haul network to be operated by the 494-seat A380. The daily A380 service will replace the current 282-seat Boeing 777 operations, increasing daily seat capacity by 75% effective 01-Mar-2013. Malaysia Airlines senior VP sales and distribution Duncan Bureau said, "We first started flying this route in April 1982 using the DC-10 aircraft with a transit in the Middle East. Today in 2013, almost 31 years later, we are using our latest flagship aircraft, the A380 which showcases our newest premium offering in products and services, for this nonstop service.” With the A380 replacing the 777-200, Malaysia Airlines is also introducing first class travel on this route, with eight first class seats on the main class deck with seat pitch of 89" and convertible into a full flat bed of 87" length and a width of 40". [more - original PR]
Malaysia Airlines to deploy A380 to Paris
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Project Hope: Malaysia Airlines outlook hinges on spinning off new high-density A380 charter airline
Malaysia Airlines is planning to set up a new airline to operate its A380 fleet on religious pilgrimage charters to Saudi Arabia. All six of the airline’s A380s will be reconfigured from 486 to up to 700 seats by the end of 2018, and transferred to a new operator's certificate.
Malaysia Airlines is hoping to attract a combination of foreign and local investors to take control of the planned new airline and all six A380s. The group is calling the plan “Project Hope” – an appropriate name given its current predicament with the A380 fleet.
The flag carrier’s A380 operation has been highly unprofitable and the aircraft is too big for operation to London – its only remaining long-haul route. Malaysia Airlines is now committed to acquiring six A350s, which will be used to replace the A380 on London. As selling or subleasing the A380s is not possible given the virtually non-existent demand for the type, establishing a new charter airline is the only sensible option – although still with some risk, given the need to find investors.
Southeast Asia Fleet Outlook:
Southeast Asia, along with the Middle East, are the only two regions with as nearly as many aircraft on order as in the active fleet. Southeast Asian airlines currently have nearly 1700 aircraft on order compared to an active fleet of approximately 1800 aircraft.