Malaysia Airlines eyes new European route for Airbus A350s

Malaysia Airlines eyes new European route for Airbus A350s

Malaysia Airlines will use its new Airbus A350 jets to open a second destination in Europe following next year's launch of A350 flights between Kuala Lumpur and London.

However, the Oneworld member has axed plans to send the A350 to Auckland and has ruled out other destinations such as Australia and Tokyo.

“We've got the A350, it’s an expensive aircraft and we have to find something meaty and significant to do with it,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew has told aviation analyst firm CAPA.

Bellew said the economics of running the A350 on medium-range routes in the Asia-Pacific region simply didn't stack up, especially as the fleet will be limited to just six of the advanced aircraft.

“We hope to find something more than nine hours. We haven’t landed on one thing. We are looking at European destinations,” he admitted, adding that the airline is currently in discussion “with some airports.”

A return to Paris or Amsterdam?

Malaysia Airlines previously flew to Paris and Amsterdam until both routes where shuttered in early 2016, and before that to Frankfurt and Istanbul in 2015, leaving London as its only European destination.

London is currently served by two daily Airbus A380 flights, but the first of those flights – MH4/MH5 – will be handed over to the Airbus A350s in either February or March 2018, depending on Airbus’ delivery schedule for the new jets.

The second London flight – MH1/MH2 – will switch from the superjumbo upon delivery of the next pair of A350s.

Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A350 is believed to have a small first class cabin of just four seats – using what’s understood to be the Vantage XL design (below) from Ireland's Thompson Aero Seating, which also provided the platform for Qantas Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 business class...

The Airbus A350s will sport a small first class cabin of just four seats using the Vantage XL design (below) from Ireland's Thompson Aero Seating, which also provided the platform for Qantas Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 business class...

... followed by business class, ‘economy extra legroom’ and standard economy cabins.

Once the A350s have taken over the Kuala lumpur-London flights, Malaysia Airlines will have its Airbus A380s stripped back to an "ultra-high capacity" configuration (read: almost entirely economy class) and handed over to a new offshoot aimed at serving the bustling Muslim market for Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

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.
 

5 comments

  • smit0847

    smit0847

    21 Jun, 2017 05:15 pm

    They have rocks in their head for installing F on an A350. If SQ, CX and LH don't can't justify F on this aircraft why does a failing airline like MH think they can?
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    22 Jun, 2017 02:39 pm

    @smit0847:
    Because:
    1.  359 will basically become MH's flagship(i.e. most premium) type in the future when the 380s exit the fleet nex yr(going to another new charter subsidiary of MH).  If no F on 359, it would mean MH will exit F mkt segment completely.  Besides, MH planned only 4 F seats on 359 which may be a sustainable inventory level for the mkt to absorb given that very very few competitors(none Malaysian) offer F to/fm Malaysia anyway.  F is also a useful tool to help gain/secure long-term & often profitable corp travel contracts to sell J tickets thru rewarding the most loyal corp clients by selective F upgrade fm J.

    2.  Unlike MH, 359 won't be the flagship type for SQ, CX nor LH in the future.  All 3 will continue to hv F...just not on their 359. Planned flagship types for each in the nex decade as below:
    SQ=380+779
    LH=380+779
    CX=779+35J
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  • Victor Teng

    victort

    23 Jun, 2017 02:51 pm

    Think you've overlooked the fact it's not specifically the aircraft why those other airlines have done away with F - but rather the decision is based on the routes and fill rates. In this case, i would say they could justify having the 4 F seats for a potentially lucrative market.
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  • Lifestobelived

    Lifestobelived

    21 Jun, 2017 06:27 pm

    Somewhere i read that it was more like the politicians, high govt officials and the rulers of each of the states in Malaysia that would demand to still have some F style comforts for their jaunts to the UK...   Not everything at every airline is run on the basis of profit and loss...
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    22 Jun, 2017 02:59 pm

    @Lifestobelived:
    Or possibly "the politicians, high govt officials and the rulers of each of the states in Malaysia" are in itself 1 giant corp travel contract procured by the gov't and happens to be @ least slightly profitable for MH?

    Not difficult to imagine that in such contract, some pax(but not all pax) will require extra privacy/confidentiality level(e.g. discussions between pax colleagues re future trade/monetary/regulatory policies of Malaysia) inside a small exclusive cabin in which J can't really offer.
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20 Jul, 2019 07:28 am

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