MOU charts milestones

New fleet set to take off: A group shot after the MOU signing ceremony for the replacement of commercial aircraft with (second from left) Bicky Bhangu (Rolls-Royce), Captain Izham (MAG), Dr Wee, MAG chairman Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, Christian Scherer (Airbus) and Simon Hanson (Avolon). — SAMUEL ONG/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The national carrier’s close partnership with Airbus for decades has enabled it to fulfil its duties in many areas, including Covid-19 vaccination deliveries, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister said in its existence for over 80 years, half of those had been in close collaboration with Airbus.

“We would like to commend the partnership that has enabled the national carrier to fulfil its duties.

“This includes facilitating the transportation of passengers and commercial goods, repatriation missions, Covid-19 vaccination deliveries and many more significant milestones,” he said at the Malaysian Aviation Group widebody aircraft replacement and signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday.

The MOU was inked between Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), Airbus, Rolls Royce and Avolon to acquire the A330neo – its widebody fleet programme.

The initial agreements cover the acquisition of 20 aircraft, with 10 to be purchased from Airbus and another 10 to be leased from Dublin-based Avolon.

Dr Wee said the MOU marked a significant milestone as the country’s national carrier continued to be progressive and adaptive in meeting its customers’ changing needs and demands and the aviation industry’s rapidly changing operating environment.

He said the aviation technology sector had undergone rapid progress through innovative products and solutions that support changing market demands and operational requirements while taking tangible steps to reduce carbon emissions.

“Synergistic, smart partnerships will be key in accelerating the growth of the nation’s aviation industry’s progress as it aims to provide continuous, enhanced and seamless services to global customers,” he said.

The minister said the government supported MAG’s long-term investments to secure one of the best modern aircraft into service. It was relevant to refresh the airline’s ageing fleet to stay competitive.

He said MAG’s initiative aligns with Malaysia’s shared commitment to sustainable aviation to support the broader decarbonisation efforts.

“We are impressed and encouraged with MAG’s fleet renewal as a key lever in its broader sustainability strategy as it takes tangible steps in promoting socio-economic development and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“These efforts are in line with Malaysia’s pursuit of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s global market-based measures where we recognise the importance of environmental sustainability,” he said.

Dr Wee said Malaysia was committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 under the Paris Agreement towards reducing carbon emissions by 45%.

He said the regulator for air traffic control Malaysia would launch a shortened standard instrument departure and standard terminal arrivals for KLIA to reduce its carbon footprint and enhance efficiency as an air navigation service provider.

“This will significantly benefit the industry in terms of shorter flight plans for departure and arrival into KLIA, translating into direct savings of fuel, time and carbon footprint,” he said.

MAG chief executive officer Capt Izham Ismail described the acquisition of the A330neo as a natural transition from its current A330ceo fleet.

“The 330neo will provide modernisation and enhanced operational efficiency and meet environmental targets through reduced fuel-burn per seat while keeping passenger safety and comfort at its core.

“This is a significant milestone as MAG moves towards the successful execution of our long-term business plan 2.0 to position itself as a leading aviation services group within the region,” he said.

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