Malaysia Airlines has signed a letter of intent with AerCap to lease six Airbus A330-200 aircraft that were formerly in service with Air Berlin.

The leases will run from 2018 to 2023, and be used to upgauge high-demand medium haul routes, says the carrier. The aircraft will replace six Boeing 737s that are being returned to lessors.

The aircraft are being powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. This is the same powerplant found on the carrier's existing fleet of 15 A330-300s.

The carrier says that the used A330s will form a bridge to a future order of next generation widebodies.

"We have an immediate need for widebodies to offer more lie-flat beds in business class on our flights over three hours," says Malaysia Airlines chief executive Peter Bellew.

"Malaysia Airlines has done an opportunistic deal on super aircraft from a failed European carrier. I am grateful to AerCap for their speed in working with Malaysia Airlines to help rebuild our premium business."

Flight Fleets Analyzer indicates that AerCap manages 16 A330-200 aircraft powered by PW4000 engines. All six are in storage, with the operator listed as Air Berlin. The average age of these six jets is 11.3 years, with the ages ranging from 7.5 to 15.7 years.

Malaysia Airlines says the aircraft will have a total of 287 seats in a two-class configuration, of which 19 are lie-flat business class seats. This is nine fewer seats from the aircraft's current configuration with a total of 298 seats, of which 19 are also lie-flat business class seats.

Malaysia Airlines is in discussions with Pratt for a support agreement related to engines.

Source: Cirium Dashboard