MAS expects delivery of five A380s in 2012

TOULOUSE: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) expects to receive delivery of five Airbus A380s by the end of next year.

LOOKING GOOD: (From left) MAS executive vice-president communications Raja Zamilia Raja Datuk Seri Mansur, Airbus area manager sales director Asia Thomas Friedburger, Azmil, Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha and Malaysian Ambassador to France Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal are seen during a photo call with the new A380.

MAS managing director and chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Seri Azmil Zahruddin said its sixth super jumbo was scheduled to be delivered in 2013, under Airbus’ new revised schedule.

The airline was originally supposed to receive its first plane in May 2008.

Meanwhile, Azmil said MAS will offer more premium products to passengers once its first A380 begins flights on the London-Kuala Lumpur route in the summer of 2012.

“The first-class is much better than the first-class that we’ve got today in the  (Boeing) 747. The business class is the best business class we’ve had. It will be a full fledged business class. We are looking at a class of economy – premium economy seats – which is the first time we will be introducing that.

“And of course it will have the latest technology in terms of seats, in terms of what we can do in the galley, as well as in-flight entertainment. All using the latest technology we have today,” he told the media during a visit to the Airbus factory here on Wednesday.

On the premium economy class, he said it would be a step up from the normal economy class. “It’s a halfway. It’ll be more comfortable than economy, but not quite as business.”

On the progress of the aircraft, he said there was a lot more to be done.

“As you can see the engines have not been fitted in. So over the next year or so, Airbus will complete the internal wiring, the electronics and so on. We will also have the seats, the video, the galley and so on delivered. That will actually be done in Hamburg (Germany), where the aircraft will be flown once it is ready here. It will be flown in to Hamburg where it will be fitted with the seats and so on.

“And once the testing on that is complete the aircraft will come back to Toulouse, where there will actually be the final testing, and then at that stage, our team from Malaysia Airlines will also be in Toulouse to coordinate the delivery, to do the testing of the aircraft and to do the acceptance of the aircraft.”

Azmil added that MAS is currently preparing its team for the new A380.

“Our pilots have been coming to Toulouse to train to fly the aircraft. Our engineers have also been to Toulouse to understand the differences in terms of how we maintain the aircraft and being a very modern aircraft, its actually quite different modern technology that it uses.

“It uses electronic messaging quite a lot more than the previous incarnations of Airbus so when the A380 comes and docks into KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), it will actually start talking to HQ and it will  start giving data, for example, in terms of the flight, fuel consumption, and our engineers can use that data to understand what is going on with the aircraft and to try to predict any issues that are coming up, any anomalies, so that anything that needs to be rectified can actually be done up front, rather than waiting for something to fail and having to rectify.”

He said the ticket price would be very competitive and excellent value for travellers. MAS’ A380s will each carry some 500 passengers.

The largest passenger airliner in the world is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine aeroplane manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS.

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