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By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI, April 26 (Reuters) - Malaysia Airlines has offered to lease Airbus A330 jets from Alitalia if the struggling Italian airline is wound up, the Asian carrier’s chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday.
Alitalia is preparing for special administration proceedings after workers rejected its latest rescue plan, making it impossible for the loss-making airline to secure funds to keep its aircraft flying. Workers are hoping the Italian government will step in with an alternative rescue deal.
Malaysia Airlines could take between six and eight Airbus A330s from Alitalia, CEO Peter Bellew said in an interview in Dubai.
An Alitalia spokesman declined to comment.
Malaysia Airlines is emerging from a turnaround after twin tragedies since 2014, when flight MH370 disappeared in what remains a mystery, and flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Its load factors - or how full its planes are - averaged around 80 percent in the three months to March 31, Bellew said.
Malaysia Airlines wants to lease between six and eight A330s or Boeing 777s for use from 2018 and a further seven to nine for 2019, he said.
This is an increase on the six for 2018 and six for 2019 he told Reuters last month he was interested in.
“The world really is awash right now” with large aircraft, Bellew said. “There are really good deals out there at the moment. It’s a buyer’s market right now.”
Bellew also said he planned to make a decision on an order for 30-35 new Airbus A330neo or Boeing 787-9 widebody planes in the next four to six months to replace its A330s from the end of 2019.
“If the prices are good ... we will do an order,” he said. “But if the price isn’t right, we won’t do it.” (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Additional reporting by Agnieszka Flak in Milan; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)