Flights between Australia and Kuala Lumpur will be more comfortable in just about every aspect, promises Airbus and Malaysia Airlines, following the carrier’s decision to modernise its fleet of A330 jets with the latest A330neo version.
An updated version of the ‘classic’ A330s, the A330neo embraces not only new engine designs but a fresh take on the cabin interior which reduces inflight noise, increases personal space and upsizes the overhead luggage bins – all brought together under the Airspace cabin brand.
Those building blocks come from the A350, which introduced several individual Airspace elements including improved LED lighting and deeper overhead bins which increase capacity by some 66%.
Malaysia Airlines will take up 20 A330neo jets – in the larger A330-900 variant – to gradually replace its 21 A330s between late 2023 and 2028 across Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East, with purchase rights for a second tranche of 20.
The A330neo jets will be configured with 300 passengers in two classes, up from the 287-290 seat count of its A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft.
Premium travellers will be watching with interest to see if Malaysia Airlines opts for the latest version of its current A330 and A350 business class seats – Thomson Aero’s Vantage XL model – with sliding privacy doors, as most recently seen on Virgin Atlantic’s factory-fresh A330neos.
“The acquisition of the A330neo is a natural transition from our current A330ceo fleet,” noted Malaysia Airlines CEO Izham Ismail.
“The A330neo will not only provide fleet modernisation and enhanced operational efficiency, but will also meet environmental targets through reduced fuel-burn per seat, while keeping passenger safety and comfort at its core.”
For his part, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International Christian Scherer said “we are looking forward to working with Malaysia Airlines to define an exceptional cabin experience.”
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines has now begun flying its revamped Boeing 737s on domestic and short-range regional routes, with new business and economy seats which it describes as “a progressive step towards the future” – to the point of ditching seatback video screens in favour of beaming movies and TV shows via WiFi to passengers’ own devices.