Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) is in talks with some of its B737-800 lessors over plans to reduce overcapacity in its narrowbody fleet.

Malaysia Airlines' B737-800 fleet currently stands at fifty-four although this number is set to decline to fifty this coming summer season with the expiration of several lease agreements. Speaking to CAPA, CEO Peter Bellew said that this number could further reduce by a further six should the talks with lessors fail to produce an agreement beyond August 2017.

Bellew says the reduction in the carrier's B737 fleet should be compensated with an increase in its widebody fleet which currently stands at fifteen A330-300s and six A380-800s (to be replaced with A350-900s from 2018). He said Malaysia Airlines plans to use the widebody jets to boost capacity at slot-constrained airports in India, Japan, Australia, Korea and Taiwan.

"And I’m stuck at the moment operating some of those with 737s," he said. "I need bigger planes. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Malaysia Airlines has been considering a combination of second hand A330-300s and ordering new B787-9s or A330-900neos, he said. With a glut of used A330s heading onto the market, and with the price gap between new-build and used aircraft growing, Bellew said the A330-300 option is the most attractive. Insofar as the Next Generation Airbus and Boeing offerings are concerned, Bellew said he was cautious of the B787-9 given its expense while the A330-900neo lacks credibility given it is still a "paper plane."