Malaysia Airlines suspends B737 MAX deliveries

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Jan 2020:

Malaysia Airlines today said it had suspended the pending incoming delivery of 25 Boeing 737-MAX jets, a model that remains grounded by civil aviation authorities around the world following two deadly crashes over the past year-and-a-half.

Malaysia Airlines said in a statement delays in the return to service and the American manufacturer’s decision to halt the model’s production had prompted the decision to suspend the planned deliveries, the first of which was scheduled for July of this year.

“Malaysia Airlines views the safety of its operations and customers of utmost priority and welcomes moves by Boeing to improve procedures to ensure the safe operations of the 737-MAX.

“As there is no clarity yet from various authorities on its return to service, our technical due diligence is still ongoing.

“In view of the production stoppage and the delayed return to service of the 737-MAX, Malaysia Airlines has suspended the delivery of its orders, which are due in 2020.”

The crashes of two 737-MAX aircraft, Lion Air Flight 610 into the Java Sea in October 2018 (13 minutes after takeoff) and Ethiopian Airlines’ Flight 302 in Ethiopia in March 2019 (six minutes after takeoff) – which killed a combined 346 people – constituted a severe blow to Boeing, which last year saw its worst performance in decades.

Both accidents have been linked to software specifically installed for that model, dubbed the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. Internal messages among Boeing employees that were released as part of the US Congress’ investigation showed the company’s efforts to convince Federal Aviation Administration regulators that costly simulator training for pilots was not required.

The Chicago-based aerospace giant yesterday reported more cancellations than new orders in 2019, with orders for the 737 models witnessing a 90% drop.

Separately, Malaysia Airlines is offering more seamless one-stop connectivity between Kuala Lumpur and several major cities in Europe through the expansion of its codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, a partner airline in the oneworld alliance.

“All codeshare services will be marketed as Malaysia Airlines flights thus simplifying ticketing to one document issued by the national carrier,” it said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines already offers fares to Doha, Qatar via an existing codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines passengers will have the opportunity to book seats to an additional 12 destinations with one-stop connectivity such as Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Geneva, Copenhagen, Brussels, Athens, and Oslo effective Jan 27.

“Through an existing codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines passengers have been able to book travels to 10 US-based destinations such as Boston, New York and Dallas.”