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AUGUST 2017

Week 33

News

Malaysia Airlines’ Bellew to install flat beds on B737 MAX 10s

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August 11th 2017

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Peter Bellew’s transformation of Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) continues with the outgoing Irishman almost single-handedly revolutionizing the carrier. Read More » Bellew’s latest focus is on upgrading MAB’s short and medium-haul B737 fleet, starting with the arrival of 10 B737 MAX 10s from 2021.

The MAB boss has revealed he is working with Irish seat manufacturer, Thompson Aero Seating, on a customized flat bed product with direct aisle access from every seat for its incoming MAX 10 fleet.

“I’m shamelessly copying what JetBlue has done with Mint, which is a fantastically innovative trans-continental product in the U.S.,” Bellew told Australian Business Traveller. “I’m ripping off their ideas!” He said this could include Mint’s suite-like approach, which has some seats sport “a privacy panel you can pull across so it’s like a private cabin,” Bellew said.

“Thompson is working on the final design. We’ll have 16 business class seats in the B737 MAX 10s. We have the space to do that [although] we’ll probably have to go a bit further back in the aircraft,” he said. MAB plans to primarily send the MAX 10s on four to six hour flights from Malaysia to China.

Thompson has provided new business class ‘Vantage’ seats for MAB’s A330s as well as ‘Vantage XL’ first class and ‘Vantage’ business class seats for the six A350s due from a lessor in December.

MAB will roster two to three 2-3 A350s on daily flights to London Heathrow, its sole remaining European destination, but is considering a resumption of other routes to Europe with the XWB. Bellew, however, thinks , thinks the aircraft would be better suited to high yielding routes to China and Japan, at least for now.

“Doing another direct service to Europe does not work very well because of the very low fares offered by the Gulf carriers, but we're still working on it,” he said. “The only way I can see it succeeding would be to work closely with another carrier.”

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