Home' Asian Aviation : AAV July August 2010 Contents 12 AsianAviation | JULY--AUGUST 2010
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is still looking into the
possibility of cancelling its 2005 order for six
Airbus A380-800s if there is a further delay in
the delivery of the aircraft.
According to MAS Managing Director and
Chief Executive Officer Azmil Zahruddin, the
airline is not happy with the delay. The A380s
were originally supposed to be delivered on a
staggered schedule, starting March 2007 and
ending in 2009. Due to programme delays,
the start of deliveries was deferred first to
January 2011, then to the first half of 2012.
"We will not rule out anything at this stage,
as it is very frustrating," Azmil says.
The airline had made plans to deploy the
aircraft on services to London and Sydney
-- the carrier's 'gold mine' -- replacing the
Boeing 747-400s currently utilised for both
routes. MAS is in the process of phasing
out the 747s. From a fleet of 17, four have
already been sold to an unidentified airline
and three more leased to start-up carrier
Alwafeer Air in Saudi Arabia for five years.
Alwafeer wants to lease another three
MAS Chairman Munir Majid adds that the
airline board's stance on the issue is clear: the
carrier will not tolerate another delay.
The airline has already received 329 million
ringgit (US$102.8 million) in compensation
for the earlier delay, and is now in talks with
Airbus over further compensation. The airline
has a contingency plan in case it decides to
cancel the order, but there is no plan to swap
A380 orders for the new A350 twinjet.
MAS sees the Boeing 777-300ER as a
potential replacement for the
A380, although it does not
have as much seating capacity
as the latter. The airline sees the
A350 and the 787 Dreamliner as
meeting a different requirement
and wants to evaluate the two
types alongside each other.
"We want to be certain that,
should we decide on the A350
in the future, it will be the right
aircraft for the carrier," Azmil says.
Thai Airways International
late last year asked to cancel its
order for six A380s or swap it
for Airbus A330-300s, but was
turned down by Airbus. However,
the manufacturer allowed Thai to
defer the start of deliveries from
2010 to October 2012.
Separately, MAS plans to
acquire new long-haul aircraft
seating 300-350 passengers to
replace its aging fleet of 17 Boeing 777-200s.
According to a MAS official in Kuala Lumpur,
the carrier will choose between the Airbus
A350-1000, the 787 or the 777-300ER.
"Detailed evaluation will only commence at
the end of this year and a decision is expected
to be made by the second quarter of 2011,"
the official said.
MAS is expected to place an order for 20-
25 aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2015-
2016. With Boeing unable to offer further
787 delivery slots before 2019 due to its order
backlog, the evaluation looks like a straight
choice between the A350-1000 and the 777-
300ER, which is a proven aircraft that is also
capable of operating non-stop between Kuala
Lumpur and London.
-- William Dennis
MAS still considering A380 order cancellation
Japan's Kansai International Airport, near Osaka,
plans to build a low-cost carriers' (LCC) terminal,
in the hope of attracting budget airlines from
around the region.
The airport, which has been in the red since
it opened for operations in 1994, hopes to
reduce its losses with the new terminal. Kansai
is currently doing a feasibility study on the new
terminal, including discussions with All Nippon
Airways (ANA) which is planning to set up a
new low-cost subsidiary and could use the
terminal as a base once it is operational.
ANA's new LCC is expected to start
operations in the first half of 2011.
Kansai Airport is also in talks with other LCCs,
including: Cebu Pacific Air, which is already
operating to Osaka from Manila and Cebu; Air
Busan from Busan, South Korea; Singapore-
based Jetstar Asia Airways; and South Korea's
Eastar Jet, based at Incheon Airport near Seoul.
Jetstar will operate to Osaka via Taipei later
this year, while Eastar Jet has expressed interest
but has no immediate plans.
The airport is expected to make a decision
on the terminal by September. Should plans fall
into place, construction will begin early next
year, with completion slated for 2013.
Once operational, the LCC terminal will be
the first of its kind in Japan.
-- William Dennis
Kansai Airport to build low cost terminal
MAS has already received more than US$100
million in compensation for A380 delivery delays.
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