Malaysia Airlines to retire Boeing 777s

9M-MRL Boeing 777-2H6ER (MSN 29065) of Malaysia Airlines at Perth Airport – 21 Dec 2015.
9M-MRL Boeing 777-2H6ER (MSN 29065) of Malaysia Airlines at Perth Airport – 21 Dec 2015.
About to push back from the International Terminal at 4:39 pm.
Photo © Ben Cambridge.

21 January 2016 © David Eyre

Malaysia Airlines is to bring forward their last regular scheduled Boeing 777-200ER flights to 26/27 January 2016 (instead of 27 March 2016) as part of the planned retirement of the type from the fleet.

From an original fleet of 17 Boeing 777-200ERs, six remain in service (9M-MRA/E/L/M/P/Q) and these are 15 to 19 years old. All will be sold.

Seven of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777s have already been returned to the leasing companies (9M-MRB/C/F/G/H/I/J), one is stored (9M-MRN), and one was scrapped (9M-MRK).

Two 777s were tragically lost with the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 (9M-MRO) and the shootdown of MH17 over Ukraine (9M-MRD).

Following last year’s major reform of Malaysia Airlines under new CEO Christoph Mueller, the airline has cut staff, reviewed routes and its aircraft fleet, and will rely on codeshare arrangements with airline partners to serve some destinations. Tha airline had accumulated debts of nearly $1.5 billion since 2011.

As part of this review, the airline announced that it would end its Paris and Amsterdam flights from 26 January 2016. Some of the 777 pilots are leaving, whilst others have been offered options including: awaiting possible future vacancies on other types in the fleet; secondment to other airlines; or unpaid long-term leave.

It was originally planned that the 777s would continue on the Kuala Lumpur-Guangzhou route until 27 March 2016. However, the airline decided to change the Guangzhou service to use Boeing 737-800s from 26 January, enabling the full withdrawal of 777s from regular service in January.

Two of Malaysia Airlines’ six Airbus A380s are also being sold, with the remaining four to be used for its double-daily London flights. These four remaining A380s will be replaced from late 2017 by four Airbus A350-900s being leased from Air Lease Corporation. The airline also has options to lease two additional A350-900s and two A330-900neo aircraft.


David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

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