Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is evaluating the Airbus A340-500 for use on transpacific services to the USA.

According to Flight International's sister online service, Air Transport Intelligence, MAS sources say senior Airbus Industrie executives have visited Malaysia recently to pursue an A340 deal.

Such a purchase would be a blow for Boeing, as MAS has been considered an almost certain customer for the rival 777-200X. Two years ago the carrier placed a commitment for 15 of the as-yet-unlaunched 777 variant, but this has lapsed.

Although MAS has ten A330-300s in service, its fleet is mainly made up of Boeing types. The US manufacturer had been favoured for the airline's ultra-long-range needs. However, the carrier's existing fleet of 777-200s is Rolls-Royce Trent 800-powered, and MAS has a preference for the UK engine for the 777-200X.

Source: Flight International