As part of a major restructuring program, Malaysia Airlines created a new umbrella company, Malaysia Airlines Group (MAG), and will spin off its former MASkargo operation as a standalone entity under that umbrella with operations launching in 2017. Assuming regulatory approval of the restructure, the new MAB Kargo unit will offer “scheduled, chartered air cargo services, ground handling services, as well as airport-to-seaport cargo logistics via ground transportation.”
MAB Kargo will manage the belly capacity of the Malaysia Airlines passenger fleet, but its main-deck operation will be severely downsized. A year ago, MASkargo operated two 747-400Fs and two A330-200Fs in its own service, and operated another two A330-200Fs on an ACMI basis for Turkish Airlines. But the 747 freighters have been retired [FATs 003256 – 3257], and an A330-200F (1108), returned off ACMI-lease by Turkish, has not been reactivated [FATs 003306 – 3307]. This leaves MAB Kargo with just two A330-200Fs in its own service, bellyspace on Malaysia Airlines and a block space agreement with Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines.
Although the block space agreement with Silk Way replaces some of the capacity that was lost when MASkargo parked its 747s freighters, (see: MASkargo bets on BSA with Silk Way) Malaysia Airlines’ bellyspace capacity continues to shrink. In the past Malaysia Airlines operated a large fleet of 777, 747 and A380 widebodies capable of carrying belly cargo to and from key cargo hubs in Europe and North America; however, the airline has recently doubled-down on a strategy heavily focused on regional, intra-Asian destinations. In a move away from widebodies, the carrier’s fleet of fifty-six 737-800s will become the backbone of its operations. While an expanded codeshare agreement with Emirates fills many of the long-haul service voids in its passenger operations, the agreement does not yet cover freight.
We expect to hear more regarding MAB Kargo’s long-term strategy in the future, but for now it’s Friday. Here’s a video of a MASkargo A330-200F landing in Kuala Lumpur.
And as a tribute to the airline’s parked 747-400Fs, here’s another video of a MASkargo 747 landing in Sydney: