The ‘Big Bird’ has landed
KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — The arrival of the new Airbus A380 is envisaged as the beginning of a new and successful chapter for Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
The MAS team comprising their top executives to dedicated crew staff have been working round-the-clock to see to the delivery of the world’s largest passenger airline.
At 3.55pm, the aircraft finally landed at KLIA, much to the delight of all MAS employees.
MAS Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, who led the superjumbo’s maiden flight home after receiving it from its manufacturer in Toulouse, France, said having a fleet of A380s will give MAS a steady route towards reclaiming its glory days.
“Our fleet of A380s will be the newest in the region. We will also be introducing products and services which we believe will stand out from our competitors,” he said while being interviewed in the airliner’s cockpit on the way home.
“We really want to be the best in the region again and we are doing all we can — both in short- and long-term initiatives — to achieve this objective,” he said.
With a broad goal lined up, Ahmad Jauhari, with his team, also spent a lot of time inspecting the plane to see that everything would be ironed out to the finest detail.
According to a Bloomberg report earlier this week, MAS has taken at least a five-inch lead over Singapore Airlines in terms how wide the former’s first-class seats will be.
This means that MAS passengers on such seats will have more space than on a single-bed mattress, with seats measuring 40 inches x 87 inches.
MAS Area Manager UK & Ireland Yuzrizal Mohd Yousuf described the report as “one of the many” initiatives in place to reinforce the airline’s position as a leader in the premium market.
“With the new A380, we can expect at least an extra 3,000 seats to be sold in the coming July/August period. The demand for seats on the A380 has already been hot for quite a while now, with a month to go, our figures show that 80 per cent of available seats have been already snapped up,” he said.
“This is a sign that with this new aircraft, it will give an extra lift to the reputation of MAS, which is already very highly regarded by the UK market as a provider of one of the best in-flight services,” he added.
The next few days will be crucial for the A380 as it will undergo a “full dress rehearsal” with hundreds of MAS staff and crew involved in familiarisation programmes and a proving flight will take place where all aspects of a standard flight from passenger check-in to landing will be conducted.
The plane will then head back to Toulouse for finishing touches on June 6, with new MAS livery to be incorporated and all other technical matters to be sorted.
The superjumbo’s commercial debut is set for July 1 as a thrice-weekly KL-London service (MH002/MH003) before going daily in August.
MAS will also introduce the A380 onto its Sydney-Kuala Lumpur route beginning September 25 running as the daily MH122/123 service also replacing the current Boeing 747-400. — Bernama