A380s move to MAB’s Amal Airlines
Malaysia Airlines’ six A380s serve Kuala Lumpur-London, Sydney and Tokyo Narita. Read More » From October, the A380 will replace the A330 from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul and Jeddah; steep capacity increases on the routes. The airline has gone through some strategy shifts for its A380s. After it failed to find buyers for the aircraft, it put them up for lease without success. Former group CEO, Peter Bellew, then announced the carrier would form its own A380 airline subsidiary.
“We need to smartly swap assets in the fourth quarter, which is the start of the winter season 2018. We will continue to capitalize on our A380 fleet during the peak season, slotting it in to London and Australia,” he said.
“Sometimes we even fly our A380s to Incheon and Narita when there is high demand. To a certain extent, the A380 fleet is quite a challenge for us to manage, but there are definitely also great opportunities with this aircraft.”
Izham said he remained committed to establishing an independent A380 subsidiary – Amal Airlines – under a separate AOC. “Amal will be geared toward the ever-growing hajj and umrah sector,” he said.
“But there are low seasons for hajj and umrah. We are very cognizant that we have this asset. Even after Amal is established, there will be times when we will swap the A380 with the A330 on pilgrimage flights to Jeddah and Madinah,” Izham added.
Malaysia Aviation Group expects to receive the AOC for Amal in the first quarter of 2019, but Izham is still unsure if the group will transfer all six A380s to Amal’s AOC.
“We are looking at a few financial models. My predecessor was planning to transfer all six A380s to Amal, but we have to consider today’s fuel and forex environment. If you transfer all that cost to the new airline, then the new airline is at a disadvantage because it’s affected by high fuel prices, which doesn’t make sense either,” he said.
“The A380 is a four-engine airplane which consumes more fuel than a twin-engine jet. We are diligently conducting our studies, but we have to be careful. Two wrongs never make a right.”
Earlier this year, the airline group signed an agreement with four umrah tour operators – KRS Travel Sdn Bhd, ATS Global Travel & Charter, Ecoriths Leisure Travel & Tour and Rayhar Travels Sdn Bhd – to provide charter services for the umrah season from this month to June, 2019.
It has committed to 149 A380 flights, an agreement that represents the highest number of scheduled services for the umrah season to date for MAB. More than 70,000 pilgrims will be flown to Saudi Arabia from Malaysia, neighbouring Thailand and Indonesia.
The Malaysia Aviation Group hopes “the old Malaysia Airlines” [Malaysian Airline System] that is connected with the unsolved loss of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 will be dissolved by the time Amal is launched.