MALAYSIA Airlines has become the first Asian carrier to take part in certifying a new aircraft - the Airbus A330. When the A330 touched down at Kai Tak last Thursday, it was the start of the final phase of its certification. Malaysian and Airbus Industries are jointly carrying out the programme. This is the first time a manufacturer has done this type of operation so far from its base. The A330 is being piloted by an Airbus Industrie's test pilot and a senior Malaysian Airlines captain. Malaysia Airline cabin crew perform duties as if the plane was on a routine flight. Passengers were selected from Malaysian's staff. The carrier has ordered 10 Airbus A330s, and when the first batch is delivered next August it will be the first to operate in the Asia-Pacific. Malaysian will configure its A330s with a higher proportion of business-class seats - 56 - to reflect the growing number of business travellers who fly the carrier. By next February, the carrier will have increased its business class seating capacity from 38 seats to 60 seats in all its planes. ''Our business class is booming, and this section is always fully booked (before) ,'' assistant area manager Alfred Lok said. The carrier uses a combination of 747-400s and Airbuses to make 12 weekly flights between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Eight are non-stop. The airline already flies to 14 Asian countries, and 85 destinations worldwide, but plans to expand. By February, all the aircraft on the Hong Kong-Kuala Lumpur route will be 747-400s. Malaysian will put on an extra flight to Kuala Lumpur via Johor Baru in October, and is negotiating for an additional flight via Kuching to start next summer. It also plans to fly to more places in China, to take advantage of the mainland's economic growth.