MAS’ new charter carrier for pilgrim flights could begin by 2019: Report

If all goes according to plan, Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) new Islamic pilgrimage airline could start operating by 2019, New Straits Times (NST) reported on Wednesday (Dec 27).

Currently named “Project Hope”, the new carrier will operate six refurbished Airbus A380 aircraft, NST’s report said.

The new service will serve Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, but former CEO Peter Bellew previously said that the aircraft could also be used for non-pilgrimage flights.

MAS had also confirmed the project to The Edge earlier this month, saying that the A380 aircraft used on its London route will be replaced by the A350s by March 2018.

“Malaysia Airlines will continue to operate our haj or umrah services using the A380s in 2018 before Project Hope is fully operational, expected by 4Q18,” MAS was quoted by the online business news website as saying.

MAS had previously tried and failed to sell its A380s in a cost-cutting exercise.