Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is reducing its operating fleet of Boeing 737s further by leasing five aircraft to Jet Airways of India. MAS also says it will take delivery of all eight 777 and 747s scheduled for delivery this year.

The Malaysian national carrier has reached an agreement to dry-lease three 737-500s and two -400s to Mumbai carrier, Jet Airways. The aircraft are being leased for two to three years, with the first 737 due for delivery in May and the remainder by the end of the year.

This will cut the number of 737s in the carrier's operational fleet to 32, according to MAS commercial director Bashir Ahmad. "We may lease out one more," he adds.

The deal follows the lease in February of two 737-400s to Air Malta, the sale and lease back of six -500s to General Electric Capital in December 1997 and the sale of two previously leased -400s to Jet Airways in 1995.

Bashir, however, confirms that MAS now plans to take delivery of the remaining five 777-200IGWs and three 747-400s on order for this year. The airline had earlier discussed selling or leasing the aircraft because of Malaysia's recent economic difficulties.

The decision follows a deal with Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise on a 12-year sale and lease back for one 777. Similar arrangements are expected to be concluded for its remaining deliveries.

MAS is continuing to seek buyers for four McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30s, two General Electric-powered 747-400s and a Pratt & Whitney-powered -300 combi.

Source: Flight International