EXCLUSIVE | Malaysia Airlines could begin flying its new Airbus A350s to Asia by the middle of 2018 as the airline grows lukewarm on a second European route for the next-gen jetliners.
Speaking at a media briefing in Sydney, airline CEO Peter Bellew confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that he expects to take delivery of the first two A350s in November 2017 and swing them onto the Kuala Lumpur-London route in mid-January 2018 as flights MH3/MH4.
The second of the airline’s double-daily London flights – MH1/MH2 – would switch across to the A350s in March 2018.
The question then becomes what to do with the final pair of Malaysia Airline’s six-strong A350 fleet, which Bellew says will be delivered by the end of June 2018.
“Doing another direct service to Europe doesn't work very well due to the very low fares being offered by Gulf carriers, but we’re still working on it."
"If we can form a joint venture with another airline it might make sense, because it's the ideal way to get another European destination" he added. "The only way I can see it succeeding would be to work closely with another carrier."
“If not, we’ll use them for something like services to Shanghai and Tokyo,” Bellew revealed. “We’re still evaluating Auckland, but we took a major hit on yield with Emirates and Qatar (flying to Auckland)."
Either way, Bellew expects to make a decision of the airline's final Airbus A350 routes within the next two months, saying "we’ll have it locked in and on sale by the end of September."