Business Irish

Sunday 25 February 2018

Malaysia chief Bellew targets superjumbo charter growth

Malaysia Airlines ceo Peter Bellew
Malaysia Airlines ceo Peter Bellew
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Malaysia Airlines boss Peter Bellew believes the carrier's new A380 charter business - the first in the world offering superjumbos - could become the most significant part of the group's business.

"I think it will do very well. I think it may well eclipse what we're doing in terms of the main Malaysia Airlines," the former Ryanair executive told the Irish Independent.

The airline, still in the midst of a turnaround, is hiving off its six A380s into a new entity that will begin operations in 2019. Mr Bellew has previously indicated that it will be targeted at offering seats to companies bringing Muslim pilgrims to events including the Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia.

Malaysia Airlines already uses the jets every week for carrying pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, but that function will be carried out by the new subsidiary from next year.

He revealed that the new unit will require about 800 staff, which will include up to 500 new hires.

The new subsidiary - set to be up and running by June 2019 - will also offer wet leases that will see holiday firms avail of the jets, which could be reconfigured to each carry more than 700 people in economy class.

Four of the jets are currently used to service Malaysia Airlines' Kuala Lumpur-London route, and will be removed that operation next year.

"We've a lot of requests from very large global holiday travel companies that have a requirement to move vast numbers of people over about a 22-week season from one part of the world to another," said Mr Bellew.

"It could be from Asia to Europe, or Asia to North America," he said. "We will be the only operator in the world with 600-seat-plus aircraft for charter. The jets are only three or four years old and we'll be able to give people a very low-cost, high-quality product. I think there's huge potential."

Read the interview in full

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