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Malaysia Airlines plans to fly the first of its six Airbus A330-200 jets – formerly leased to Airberlin – between Auckland and Kuala Lumpur in early 2018.
The Oneworld member airline, which has been eager to boost the size of its twin-aisle A330 fleet for some time, swooped on the insolvent German airline and took over a six-year lease on a half-dozen Airbus A330-200 jets.
The pre-loved jets will join the Malaysia Airlines fleet at a rate of one per month between February and July 2018 and in addition to Auckland will be rostered onto short to medium-range flights to Bangkok, Jakarta, Delhi and Mumbai.
They'll also be sent to Singapore and Hong Kong to cope with the peak travel demands during Chinese New Year.
The Malaysian flag-carrier will retain Airberlin's original seating (shown below) rather than fit its latest A330 business class seats, although materials such as seat covers will be changed to remove the German airline's branding.
Airberlin only recently shifted to a new business class on its A330-200s, with 19 seats in a 1-2-1 arrangement.
While the seats sport a decidedly dated design, they do convert into fully-flat beds.
It remains to be seen how Auckland flyers will feel about swapping to this from the modern business class of Malaysia Airlines' A330-300 (below) which currently makes the daily run to Kuala Lumpur.
A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines told Australian Business Traveller that there were no plans to use the Airberlin A330-200 jets to recommence flights to Brisbane, as the airline wanted to offer the same A330-300 business class on all Australian routes.
"It is too premature for us to consider new routes currently. The lease of these six second hand Airbus A330-200 is as replacement for six narrowbody Boeing 737 that are being returned to lessors" and will allow the airline "to bridge the next generation wide-body aircraft orders" for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.