Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) has signed a three-year charter contract with Andalusia Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian tour operator, covering A380-800 services out of Kuala Lumpur Int'l to each of Madinah and Jeddah for Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, the Malaysian Reserve has reported.

The contract covers a total of around 200 roundtrip flights and runs from August 2018 through August 2021.

These flights will eventually be transferred to a new unit planned within the Malaysia Aviation Group which will be dedicated to Hajj and Umrah charters once it secures all necessary authorisations from both the Malaysian and the Saudi authorities. The subsidiary is tentatively scheduled to launch in late-2018.

The carrier had previously announced its plan to reconfigure all six of its A380s into an all-economy layout seating around 700 passengers, up from 494 in the current three-class layout. While the aircraft main task in the future will be Hajj and Umrah charters, the carrier also plans to deploy the A380s opportunistically on other key routes.

According to Flightradar24 ADS-B data, Malaysia Airlines continues to deploy the A380s on select services to Tokyo Narita and Hong Kong Int'l. It also operates charter flights to Madinah and Jeddah using these units. Three aircraft, 9M-MNA (msn 78), 9M-MNB (msn 81), and 9M-MNC (msn 84) appear to have been stored at Kuala Lumpur since March 25, April 2, and April 8, respectively.