Malaysia Airlines has announced that a provisional deal to purchase eight Boeing 787's had lapsed and the airline was in talks with both Boeing and Airbus about the future of its wide-body fleet.
The national carrier last year signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing to purchase the 787 jets valued at US$2.25 billion at list prices during a visit to Washington by former prime
minister Najib Razak. Mr Najib is presently under investigation in relation to his involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Order decision is still pending
A Reuters report noted that the lapse of the MOU was first reported by the Edge Weekly and confirmed by a Malaysia Airlines spokesman last week. A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on ongoing discussions with customers.
The Edge Weekly report quoted Malaysia Airlines' CEO Izham Ismail as saying that the airline had issued a request for information from aircraft makers for new generation wide-body jets, without specifying how many it intended to buy.
It was open to the advice of the manufacturers on the fleet size the airline would need for further network development, he said, adding any order decision would be made in the fourth quarter at the earliest.
Returning to the back announced
Malaysia Airlines currently has an all-Airbus wide-body fleet including A330s, A350s and A380s.
Sources told Reuters in July that the airline was tapping banks to fund nine B737 MAX aircraft in what would be the airline's first jet financing with lenders since it was restructured more than three years ago.
The airline last month said in a quarterly update that it was facing pressure from higher fuel prices, foreign exchange volatility and overcapacity in the domestic market, as well as a shortage of pilots, but it was putting in place strategies to return to a profit next year.
Nol van Fenema