Malaysia Airlines' London Airbus A350 flights start January 2018

Malaysia Airlines' London Airbus A350 flights start January 2018

EXCLUSIVE | Malaysia Airlines plans to bring forward the start of its Airbus A350 flights to London to January 2018, but is putting expansion to other European cities on hold.

The Oneworld member now expects to take delivery of its first two Airbus A350s in November and December 2017, which will provide sufficient aircraft to take over the daily Kuala Lumpur-London Airbus A380 flights MH3/MH4 by mid-January 2018.

Australian Business Traveller understands that two more A350s will arrive by March 2018, at which time the flagship MH1/MH2 flight would also be swapped from the double-decker superjumbo to the fuel-efficient A350.

Malaysia Airlines will then 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.

However, Malaysia Airlines is revising earlier plans to use the final two members of its six-strong A350 fleet – now slated for delivery by June 2018 – to re-open flights to Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt, routes which the airline shuttered in 2015-2016.

Airline CEO Peter Bellew previously axed plans to send the A350 to Auckland, and ruled out other destinations such as Australia and Tokyo, saying "it’s an expensive aircraft and we have to find something meaty and significant to do with it. We hope to find something more than nine hours."

It's believed that no European destination other than London would provide the high traffic which Malaysia Airlines requires for its A350s, which will come with ongoing leasing payments rather than being bought outright.

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.

Behind this will be 35 business class seats using the same Vantage design as Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A330s.

Read more: Up close with Malaysia Airlines' new Airbus A330 business class seat

This will be followed by 249 economy seats, some of which will come with extra legroom. The A350 will also carry high-speed satellite Internet.

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.


  • kt74


    21 Jul, 2017 07:16 am

    Why would MH roster its first two A350s on MH3 and MH4?  That involves 20 hrs on the ground at LHR, which seems odd...
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  • David Flynn


    21 Jul, 2017 10:19 am

    Just reporting what we've been told.

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  • HugoDrax


    21 Jul, 2017 11:44 am

    Peter Bellew said at IATA that the morning flight from KL would switch to the A350 first, so logically that would be the MH4 and MH1 pairing.  (Not that logic necessarily applies for MH or in the aviation business generally.)
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  • John Odlum

    John Odlum

    21 Jul, 2017 12:14 pm

    Very interesting having such a small first class cabin and with not a lot of differentiation between business class and first class. I'm sure there will still be some people who will pay for first class or maybe it's just for Malaysia Airlines' VIP passengers!
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  • jubbing


    21 Jul, 2017 04:45 pm

    I was under the assumption that it would be a closed door version for First Class (4 seat still) - but this seems to be pretty much a similar seat to business on other airlines?
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  • cloud-9


    21 Jul, 2017 06:04 pm

    If the pictures are anything to go by, the proposed new F seats are barely distinguishable from J!

    Not really comparable to their current A380 F 8-seat cabin...where the difference is massive

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  • smit0847


    21 Jul, 2017 06:34 pm

    This F class concept doesn't make any sense. They're usually almost identical seats for J and F. It seemed like installing F in their A380s was a mistake so why are they bothering to do it for their A350s? Are they going to maintain and F lounge in KUL for a whole 24 seats (across 6 aircraft), most of which will go unsold?

    David do you have any intel on this? Is it a political decisions? It makes no sense.

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  • David Flynn


    21 Jul, 2017 07:08 pm

    We don't have any insight into the rationale behind this, but we have an interview with MH CEO Peter Bellew coming up and the airline's first class strategy (in the air and on the ground) is one of the topics we hope to have time to raise.
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  • Azri Azmi


    6 Aug, 2017 03:22 pm

    The CEO is targeting to become 5 star airlines in the next few years but they still offering lousy products; first class and biz class. where else other regional competitor are offering 1-2-1 business class and extra large first class with private door (garuda indonesia and singapore airlines for biz and first and class, and cathay pacific and thai airways for biz class only)
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20 Jul, 2019 05:58 pm


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