MALAYSIA AIRLINES (MAS) chairman Tajudin Ramli has threatened to stop any further purchases of Airbus Industrie aircraft unless France grants the carrier additional landing rights in Paris.

The Malaysian flag carrier wants to increase its services between Kuala Lumpur and Paris from twice a week to twice daily. "Why must I help Airbus when they cannot help us?" asks Tajudin.

MAS, already operates eight Airbus A330s and is due to take delivery of a final two aircraft, before the end of the year. Tajudin has reportedly warned that he may sell the aircraft to a "third party" if his application is rejected by the French Government.

It has a further requirement for six to ten long-range wide bodies to replace its McDonnell Douglas DC-10s. Competing against the A340 for the order is Boeing, with the 777, and McDonnell Douglas, with its MD-11.

The French minister of external commerce, Christine Chauvet, says that Airbus is a private European consortium, while landing rights are the exclusive domain of the French Government. She throws cold water on the idea of daily flights, but says that the question of an extra weekly flight to Kuala Lumpur "...could be studied". Air France ceased flying to Kuala Lumpur a year ago.

Source: Flight International