SINGAPORE: Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAG) has yet to make a decision on its Airbus A380-800 superjumbos that are still put up for sale, its group chief executive officer, Captain Izham Ismail said.
"We are in conversations with potential buyers. There are inquiries and that remains confidential,” he told reporters when asked on the status of the group’s six A380-800 aircraft.
Izham was met on the sidelines of Aviation Festival Asia 2022 where he was one of the panelists speaking on a topic titled "Flying with confidence - what next for airlines in Asia?” here today.
MAG, a parent of national carrier Malaysia Airlines, had on July 12, 2021, issued a tender notice for interested parties to acquire its A380 aircraft and/or components.
The sale follows the group’s decision to exit its A380 fleet, post a restructuring exercise that was completed in March 2021.
The group follows the due process in evaluating submissions by prospective bidders and expects to complete the exercise in the fourth quarter of 2021.
MAG’s wholly-owned unit, MAB Pesawat Sdn Bhd is tasked with conducting an open tender for the sale of the aircraft and/or its components whereby interested parties should send their proposals by Aug 12, 2021.
Izham said all the six superjumbos were currently grounded.
Asked about manpower crunch in the aviation industry globally, Izham said it has somewhat affected airlines to increase their capacity.
He said some international airports were facing a shortage of resources and thus airlines could not put up capacity even if they had airplanes.
"Some airlines have put their aircraft on long-term parking (during the pandemic) and now they are bringing them back. It is not overnight as it takes 30-90 days to bring it to service. Those are the challenges that airlines are facing,” he said.
"MAS (Malaysia Airlines) is fortunate to have a very collective decision not to retrench our people during the pandemic. What we did was we reduced senior executive salaries to support the lower incomes.. everybody is intact with us.
"We knew rather how bad (the situation was), we need them when the pandemic is over. We didn’t let go of anybody. MAS is under control. We have pilots.. we have got everything,” he said.
Izham said the group "is communicating with the airport operator aggressively. MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd).. we are quite close together."
He noted that MAG had also made a "very cautious decision that we didn’t want to put our aircraft on a long-term parking.”
Izham said the group currently has a fleet of 102 planes of which Malaysia Airlines has 87, while the balance is operating under MASwings and Firefly’s brands.
"MAS is not a big airline. All our fleets are actually flying... it has been flying even during the pandemic,” he said.