by Jamie Freed
(Reuters) – Malaysia Airlines said on Monday it has signed a provisional agreement to acquire 20 Airbus A330neos to replace its aging fleet of wide-body A330s, in a deal also involving aircraft leasing company Avolon.
According to the initial agreement, the airline will buy ten of these planes from Airbus, with the other ten being leased directly from Avolon, the company said.
Last week, industry sources told Reuters a deal was expected on Monday.
The planes, which will be equipped with Rolls-Royce engines, should be delivered between the third quarter of 2024 and 2028, the airline said.
The modernization of Malaysia Airlines’ fleet, which includes purchase rights for a further 20 A330neos, comes amid signs of a recovery in demand for wide-body aircraft after a long slump.
“The A330neo will not only modernize our fleet and improve operational efficiency but also meet environmental objectives by reducing fuel consumption per seat, while keeping passenger safety and comfort at the center of concerns. “Izham Ismail, chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, said in a statement.
The airline said it also cooperates with Airbus in areas such as sustainable fuel, training, maintenance and airspace management.
The A330neos, all derived from the A330-900 model, will have 300 seats and will be operated on the company’s existing network in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.
(Report Jamie Freed in Sydney, French version Kate Entringer, editing by Marc Angrand)
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