A380 – The Darling of MAS

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WITH the quietest cabin, aerodynamics for higher fuel efficiency, advanced materials for lower weight and fuel burn, latest fully integrated systems for lower cost and new generation engines for fuel efficiency and lowest environmental impact, the A380 – the world’s largest commercial plane flying today is a game-changing airliner.

For passengers, the A380 is attractive for its comfort, advanced technology and spacious cabin, and for airlines, the aircraft has higher load factor and average yields, thus translates into higher profits.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) regional senior vice-president for UK and Europe (commercial) Huib Gorter said MAS will benefit from European operations next year, when more of its A380s fly into the region.

With the load factor for the KL-London route expected to be maintained at “high 80 per cent” next year, Huib said the average earnings per passenger is expected to increase to 38 per cent in 2013, compared with 12 per cent growth in the average seat per km this year.

This is due to the bigger capacity of A380 compared with the B747-400 aircraft.

In a briefing to visiting Malaysian, Filipino and Brunei media in London a month ago, Huib said when MAS introduced A380 into its fleet starting July this year, there was a 22 per cent increase in passengers from London to KL.

MAS is the only direct flight servicing the KL-London route. With the introduction of the A380 services, MAS has now ceased the 359-seater B747-400 flight operations between KL and London.

Huib noted that the A380 will further enhance the MAS brand, which is part of the airline’s turnaround initiatives.

Many airlines globally have placed order with aircraft maker Airbus for the A380 as the four-engine jet airliner not only minimises cost but it offers new ways of generating revenue.

According to Airbus product marketing director for A380 Keith Stonestreet, the A380 experience attracts passengers, boosting traffic and thus, increasing airlines’ market share.

He said airlines that do not own A380 are likely to lose their market share.

“The A380’s attractiveness results in higher load factor, as the increase in demand exceeds the increase in seat capacity.

“This provides opportunities for revenue management and for competitive fare strategies,” Stonestreet said at a briefing for Malaysian media in Toulouse, France, in June last year.

The media visit to an Airbus factory in Toulouse to see the final stage of assembly of MAS’ first A380 was co-organised by MAS and Airbus, in conjunction with the 49th Paris International Air Show.

Stonestreet said the A380, which started its services in 2007, is popular among airlines that operate B747-400 for long-haul routes.

The A380 has more range, more fuel economic and with aerodynamics, it needs shorter runway for take-off and landing. It also has smaller engine, so it is easier to manage.

“It uses less fuel, so it has lower carbon emissions and the A380 is half noisier than the 747,” he added.

By next year, MAS will have six A380s. Together with the A330-300s and B747-800s in its fleet, the national carrier will have the youngest fleet in the region.

After KL-London sector, MAS will begin daily A380 flights on the KL-Paris-KL route from March 1 2013.