Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A350 business class to mirror A330

By Chris Chamberlin, March 23 2016

IN BRIEF | Malaysia Airlines will offer all business class passengers fully-flat beds and also direct aisle access from most seats on its upcoming fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, echoing that of the airline’s reconfigured A330s which begin flying to Australia this week.

With four A350s set for delivery from late 2017, Paul Simmons, Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the new birds will follow the lead of the A330s at the pointy end.

“It’s the same seat (as that launched this week),” Simmons shares. “We’ve done that to standardise our service (between the A330 and the A350).”

Business class on Malaysia Airlines' new A330s...
Business class on Malaysia Airlines' new A330s...

Extending to 193cm when in bed mode, MAS’ new seat is based on the widely-adopted Thompson Vantage product used also by airlines like Aer Lingus and Swiss, with the similar yet supercharged Thompson Vantage XL seat the basis of Qantas’ new A330 Business Suite.

Once in service, Malaysia Airlines will fly the Airbus A350-900s from Kuala Lumpur to London Heathrow and also to major destinations across Asia.

Also read: Up close with Malaysia Airlines' new business class seat

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Kuala Lumpur as a guest of Malaysia Airlines

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

It seems reasonable to do this. Product consistency is a good thing. The arrangement chosen by MAS in their A330s should allow similar seat width to the typical A350 arrangement.

I hope MAS regain their footing. Sure, they'll probably be a niche airline and never truly reach being an ultra-global airline (although perhaps a few A350-900ULRs to reach LAX and perhaps JFK? London, LAX and JFK are premium destinations and the A350-900ULR is highly common with the basic A350-900 model), but that doesn't matter since they can still be a good airline. Which is of course the most important thing.

But seriously they need to start serving alcohol in business class irrespective of the flight length.

FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

"Product consistency is a good thing"

And I'll add not just for pax but also for a carrier like MH.  If possible, it's always a good idea(For MH cabin investment today, may be the only workable idea) to buy in larger bulk(i.e. procurement within the Vantage product family) and maximize your discount.....especially when your company is almost broke.

"...arrangement chose by MAS in their A330s should allow similar seat width to the typical A350..."

Will be interesting if your theory is correct given that the max cabin width(@ armrest height) of any 350 is 13in(33cm!) wider than any 330.....either the J seat on 350 is narrower than it should be(Aisle wider than normal for 350?) or the J seat on 330 is wider than it should be(Aisle narrower than normal for 330?).

"..perhaps a few A350-900ULRs to reach LAX and perhaps JFK?"

Theoretically possible but in practice, extremely unlikely within 5-10yrs(let alone within 5yrs) because:

a) Cabin config of 359ULR is in extremely low density(Tech  impossible for SQ to do JFK/EWR-SIN if 359ULR is in std 359 cabin density).  This will mean near-total reliance on premium seats(F or J, may be PY with few or zero Y seat) demand for every flight but unlike SQ+SIN, MH+KUL hv little(if any) potential for such heavy premium/corp demand.

b) MH has basically ditched its entire longhaul network except LHR+Australia in the past 2-3yrs.  If MH can 1day afford to rebuild its longhaul network, re-entering prior mkts(e.g. EU capitals) is likely much lower risk/cheaper than entering costly new frontiers(e.g. S.E.Asia nonstop to LAX/JFK +compete head on against SQ for the same tiny mkt niche).

c) All four 359s joining MH are leased.  We can expect MH to lease more and then eventually buy their own(If MH financials improve & sustainable) before considering to add a diff variant.

"A350-900ULR is highly common with the basic A350-900.."

Technically they are by industry std.  But still, 359ULR is structurally heavier than a 359 thx to extra structural reinforcements.....dead weights U don't need but can't take out(i.e. a small fuel burn penalty) when U redeploy a 359ULR fm ULR missions(e.g. KUL-LAX) to any sub-ULR routes(e.g. KUL-LHR).


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