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July 18, 2008

Malaysia Airlines to add 35 Boeing 737-800s to its fleet
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (KLSE:3786) has ordered 35 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 airplanes worth more than $2.6 billion, reported Bernama news agency.

Malaysia's national flag carrier also has acquired purchase rights for an additional 20 Next-Generation 737-800s.

Boeing and MAS made the announcement at the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom on Wednesday.

"This new fleet of Next-Generation 737-800s will replace our existing 737-400 fleet, allowing Malaysia Airlines to expand to points which were not previously economically viable and will create a strong platform for the airline to profitably grow," MAS Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said in a statement.

"This supports our aim towards usage of more agile and fuel-efficient aircraft for our core network in the ASEAN region, including the domestic sector in Malaysia and the fast growing economies of China and India."

The planes will be delivered beginning 2010 and timed to benefit from a turnaround in the airline industry.

Azmil said MAS will acquire the planes directly, and will partially sell and lease back from Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd.

He said this gives it the flexibility to better manage its balance sheet and financing commitments.

At the signing ceremony, Boeing was represented by its president and chief executive officer (commercial) Scott Carson. Malaysia's Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat and MAS chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid were also present.

Boeing said the 737-800, which can seat from 162 to 189 passengers, is 680 kilograms lighter, can fly 481 kilometers farther and 335 meters higher while carrying 12 more passengers than the competing model.

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