MAS awaits approval for new haj carrier launch

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chief executive officer Peter Bellew said it expects to get approval from Khazanah Nasional to launch the new airline catering to haj pilgrims by the end of this year.

Bellew was reportedly saying that MAS currently does not have enough seats to accommodate pilgrims from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and China for the rest of the year.

He also added, “Even though we have not started this new airline, it has already generated a huge amount of business for Malaysia Airlines,” according to a report by The Star. He expects to get the final approval from Khazanah by the end of this year and “we will go ahead and launch the airline.”

Bellew was speaking to a group of Malaysian journalists after viewing the A350 XWB pre-delivery aircraft at Airbus’ final assembly line. The aircraft offers long-range capability with lower operating cost compared with the A380s. “The cost of operating the A350 on our London flights should be about 40% lower compared with the A380. This will give us a greater ability to be profitable on the longer routes,” he said.

The aircraft, which features the widest seats of any jetliner in its category, will be leased on a 12-year basis.

Meanwhile, Bellew said Malaysia Airlines’ listing has been slated for 2019. But, he also said, listing may not be the only route as there is a trend for airlines to also look for trade partnerships with other carriers. That said, at the moment, MAS is not in any talks with other airlines for possible trade partnership.