Delivery of the first A330-900Ns to Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur International) remains on track to start in September 2024, according to Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) Managing Director Izham Ismail. He also says Malaysia Airlines will issue a request for proposal (RFP) for 20 narrowbody aircraft in the first quarter of 2024 and warns he won't necessarily stick with the carrier's long-term narrowbody aircraft manufacturer.

Speaking at an aviation conference in Kuala Lumpur last week, Ismail confirmed the delivery timelines of the twenty A330-900Ns acquired through Avolon, and first announced in August 2022, remains largely unchanged. "If we stick to our long-term business plan until 2030, we should have at least 55 widebody aircraft by 2028," he said. According to ch-aviation fleets data, Malaysia Airlines' passenger-configured widebody fleet now comprises six A330-200s, fifteen A330-300s, and six A350-900s. Ismail also confirmed that Malaysia Airlines had options to order another twenty A330-900Ns and was likely to decide on that in 2024.

In the same presentation, Ismail said he would issue the narrowbody RFP early next year as part of the second stage of the airline's narrowbody fleet renewal program, with deliveries planned through 2028. In early 2022, as part of the first stage of the narrowbody renewal program, MAG ordered twenty-five B737-8s from Air Lease Corporation, with deliveries through 2026. Malaysia Airlines currently operates forty-two B737-800s, but Ismail hopes to increase the narrowbody fleet size to 60 narrowbodies by 2030.

"We’re agnostic of the aircraft type after what we have gone through in the last few months (with Boeing)," Ismail said. "We’re open to (the) A220. To a certain extent, what’s wrong with COMAC? If the fleet meets our mission, vision and aspiration and is commercially favourable to MAG, we’ll go with the aircraft type.”

Ismail's reference to Boeing concerns delays with the first B737-8s. Malaysia Airlines was expecting its first deliveries earlier this year. "I am very disappointed with the delivery progress of our B737-8 aircraft," he said. "Contractually, we were supposed to receive seven aircraft this year, but the revised contract would see four. But as we speak, I honestly don't know when the aircraft are coming. It has been delayed for the last two and a half months."