Malaysia Airlines is happy with the size of its freighter fleet for now and will instead focus more on strategic collaboration to achieve growth, the carrier tells Cargo Facts. But the airline says that, while there are no immediate plans to alter the cargo fleet, it is keeping its options open and may even decide to adopt a narrowbody platform in the future.
Malaysia Airlines’ MAB Kargo subsidiary currently operates three A330-200Fs (1136, 1148 and 1180). The carrier said that unit 1180, which has not flown since landing back at Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on July 30, 2019, is in maintenance and is estimated to be back in service in November.
Another A330-200F (1164) previously flew for MAB Kargo, but was removed from the active fleet and stored in July 2016. This aircraft was earmarked for Royal Jordanian and painted into the airline’s colors in 2017, but Royal Jordanian decided not to take on the frame. Unit 1164 was eventually picked up by Turkish Cargo in 2018.
Since March 2016, MAB Kargo has had a partnership with Azerbaijan-based Silk Way West Airlines. MAB told Cargo Facts that it is maintaining this with a block space agreement on a twice-weekly 747-8F between KUL and Amsterdam (AMS) via Baku (GYD). Meanwhile, MAB Kargo is working to increase the utilization of its own A330Fs with some scheduled charters and looking at the possibility of adding frequencies to certain sectors with high demand.
Should the carrier opt to enter the converted narrowbody freighter market, we note that it would likely be with 737-800BCFs. Even though Malaysia Airlines has in the past few years removed older 737-800s that could have been potential candidates for conversion, it could still source freighters from lessors such as GECAS or BBAM.
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