Following last month's announcement that it will terminate its daily Kuala Lumpur-Frankfurt passenger service on May 29, financially struggling Malaysia Airlines has decided to offer for sale or lease 16 of its aircraft. It’s a major downscaling of the indebted carrier’s fleet.
The intended fleet cut comprises all six of its Airbus A380s, the airline’s two Boeing 747-400Fs, four Airbus A330-200Fs and four Boeing 777-200ERs in an attempt to restructure following a
disastrous 2014, Leeham News reported.
Is the death knell sounding for MASCargo?
The carrier lost two B777s last year: MH370, the flight that disappeared and still hasn’t been found; and MH17, the flight that was shot down over Ukraine.
According to the report, the elimination of the freighter fleet basically means that MASKargo will cease to exist, other than the marketing and sales activities of the belly-hold capacity of the airline's remaining passenger fleet, comprising 13 A330-300s, 57 Boeing 737-800s with 14 on order and 10 options and 13 777-200ERs.
Reportedly, Malaysia Airlines was negotiating with Turkish Airlines the lease of two of its A380s, but this deal seems to have fallen through.
From global back to regional carrier
The termination of the KUL-FRA sector follows Lufthansa's decision to start flying non-stop between Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur last year. Earlier this year, the German carrier decided to step up frequencies to a daily flight.
According to a MAS statement, the revised network plan is in line with MAS' overall strategy to be more regionally focused, with a strong global connectivity through its Oneworld alliance and partners. Other recently-closed routes are Kuala Lumpur to Kochi as well as Krabi and Kunming.
More routes could be axed
"Our challenge is to ensure (that) MAS operates and utilizes its fleet at an optimum level, as well as maximize revenue on every route it flies," outgoing MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in the statement.
Mr Jauhari has meanwhile been replaced by Christoph Mueller, the former CEO of Aer Lingus. He assumed the post of managing director and group CEO on April 30, 2015.
Nol van Fenema