Malaysia Airlines plans to buy 35 more wide-bodied planes

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew says the national carrier plans to buy 35 more wide-bodied planes over the next year as part of a fleet restructuring as it seeks to return to profitability by 2018.

Bellew says 70 percent of the airline's current fleet of 69 planes comprises single-aisle, narrow-bodied aircraft for short and medium-haul routes, making it appear more like a low-cost carrier. He says the airline expects to increase its fleet size to 80 planes by 2022, of which 45 percent will be wide-bodied planes.

Bellew said Wednesday that wide-bodied planes are efficient for busy regional routes and give the flexibility for the carrier to expand its long-haul routes. The airline axed all long-haul routes except to London under a $1.5 billion restructuring in 2015.

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