Malaysia Airlines eyes Asia for Airbus A350 flights

Malaysia Airlines eyes Asia for Airbus A350 flights

EXCLUSIVE | Malaysia Airlines could begin flying its new Airbus A350s to Asia by the middle of 2018 as the airline grows lukewarm on a second European route for the next-gen jetliners.

Speaking at a media briefing in Sydney, airline CEO Peter Bellew confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that he expects to take delivery of the first two A350s in November 2017 and swing them onto the Kuala Lumpur-London route in mid-January 2018 as flights MH3/MH4.

The second of the airline’s double-daily London flights – MH1/MH2 – would switch across to the A350s in March 2018.

Read more: Malaysia Airlines' London Airbus A350 flights start January 2018

The question then becomes what to do with the final pair of Malaysia Airline’s six-strong A350 fleet, which Bellew says will be delivered by the end of June 2018.

“We’re still evaluating what we do with the last two” Bellew told Australian Business Traveller, admitting that previous plans to expand to Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt are now looking less likely.

“Doing another direct service to Europe doesn't work very well due to the very low fares being offered by Gulf carriers, but we’re still working on it."

"If we can form a joint venture with another airline it might make sense, because it's the ideal way to get another European destination" he added. "The only way I can see it succeeding would be to work closely with another carrier."

“If not, we’ll use them for something like services to Shanghai and Tokyo,” Bellew revealed. “We’re still evaluating Auckland, but we took a major hit on yield with Emirates and Qatar (flying to Auckland)."

Either way, Bellew expects to make a decision of the airline's final Airbus A350 routes within the next two months, saying "we’ll have it locked in and on sale by the end of September."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

12 comments

  • Victor Teng

    victort

    31 Jul, 2017 02:51 pm

    So he does a media briefing from Sydney with no relevance/news for AU travelers?? Hmmpfff...
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    1 Aug, 2017 06:28 pm

    @victort:
    U made it sound like the only item on MH's media briefing agenda in Sydney was their 350 fleet plan....
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  • njskinner76

    njskinner76

    31 Jul, 2017 03:03 pm

    Yeah pity they don't see Brisbane back on the cards. It would be good to get some more competition back here for South East Asia flights.
    Also beefing Sydney and Melbourne back up to triple daily again.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    31 Jul, 2017 03:38 pm

    We did ask Peter Bellew about Malaysia Airlines returning to Brisbane but he could offer nothing firmer than "we'd like to" and "maybe second half of 2018 or first half of 2019, because we don't currently have the aircraft", which really isn't meaty enough for a story.
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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    31 Jul, 2017 04:06 pm

    Isn't the A350 a medium to long haul aircraft? What routes in Asia would this suit? isnt most of the big Asian destinations a regional hop away fro. Malaysia?
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  • David Flynn

    David

    31 Jul, 2017 04:24 pm

    The cities being considered are in the article.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    1 Aug, 2017 06:55 pm

    @highflyer:
    "isnt most of the big Asian destinations a regional hop away fro. Malaysia?"
    Probably yes if U define a 7h45m sector block time such as NRT->KUL by MH as a "regional hop".  However by the same logic, the 6h45m sector for JFK->LHR by BA's 747/777 across the Atlantic and the 7h40m sector for MEL->SIN by SQ's 350  would also hv to be "regional hops"...

    BTW, both NH and JL exclusively deploy 787 on the same Tokyo-KUL route and like the 350, I'm guessing no one will really refer to the 787 as anything other than a medium/long haul aircraft.
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  • Gearsau

    Gearsau

    31 Jul, 2017 05:22 pm

    I flew in Cathay Pacific's new A350 from Hong Kong to Bangkok, earlier this year. I was in a Cathay A330 from Shanghai to Hong Kong a few hours prior. In all honesty, I could not tell the difference between the planes.  Both flights were business class as well. Typical Airbus, with no headroom when I stand up. I did ask the crew to confirm the plane type.  :-)
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  • GuyBetsy

    GuyBetsy

    31 Jul, 2017 10:56 pm

    There is a marked difference between the A330 and the A350. The latter being so much smoother, quieter and newer ! 
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  • Gearsau

    Gearsau

    31 Jul, 2017 11:11 pm

    I know the A350 is newer, but, it didn't impress me. Prefer a Boeing B777. At least with them, I can stand up, and, never hit my head on the overhead bins.
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    1 Aug, 2017 11:51 am

    A350 is much quieter than a 777 and noticably more modern inside.  Without noise cancelling headphones, a 777 is uncomfortably noisy.
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  • Gearsau

    Gearsau

    1 Aug, 2017 02:13 pm

    I have done enough trips in Thai's B777-200 and B777-300, I prefer the head room on the B777. Also have Bose Noise cancelling head phones , so, no issues.
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26 May, 2019 05:33 am

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