Malaysia Airlines plans return to Brisbane, more flights to Perth

Malaysia Airlines plans return to Brisbane, more flights to Perth

Malaysia Airlines intends to restart flights between Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur, as well as launch a double daily service to Perth – but it’s more a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, CEO Peter Bellew tells Australian Business Traveller

The ‘when’ is, however, tied to the Oneworld member airline expanding its fleet, a process which isn’t expected to happen until sometime in 2018.

“I think Brisbane would do very well for us,” Bellew predicts, and not just for taking passengers to Kuala Lumpur or London.

“With our network we could offer some very seamless connections, particularly to relatively obscure places in China, where I don’t see them ever getting connected point-to-point.”

The Oneworld member and de facto Qantas partner axed its Brisbane flights in August 2015 as part of a wide-ranging series of cuts to its Australian schedule in an effort to slash costs.

However, Bellew explains, “we don’t have the aircraft yet to re-open that route… what I’m trying to do is to put extra wide-bodies in place for the second half of next year, and 2019, and that’ll give us the capacity then that we can operate through to Brisbane, because we need a wide-body aircraft to get down there – the narrow-bodies won’t make it.”

Those wide-body or twin-aisle jets could come from either Airbus or Boeing, Bellew says, and could be fresh from the factory or leased from another airline.

Changes for Perth

For its part, Perth will see twice-daily Boeing 737 flights and “we will have the Boeing 737s available next year to be able to do that,” Bellew forecasts.

However, mindful of the number of travellers heading through KL to London, Bellew is keen to avoid clashing with Qantas’ non-stop Perth-London Boeing 787 service.

“We recognise that Qantas’ direct flight is going to have an impact on us, so we will reschedule our flights to avoid Qantas and try and generate different traffic flows out of Perth so (that) Qantas is not going to whack us,” the refreshingly candid Bellew admits.

No A380s for Sydney, Melbourne

Malaysia Airlines has spiked plans to bring its Airbus A380 superjumbo to Sydney and Melbourne for the peak December-January travel season. 

“We had a look at it but the figures don’t add up, and there’s a lot of logistical challenges in doing that,” Bellew explains.

“The two airports are very busy at the moment and there’s not unlimited A380 handling availability in Sydney or Melbourne, so we’re not planning on doing that (now).” 

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.


  • aklrunway


    9 Aug, 2017 09:31 am

    Sounds like they're making some smart decisions for their business
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  • PerthFlyer


    9 Aug, 2017 10:08 am

    They need to improve status credit earning with Qantas as currently if flying economy from PER-KUL then no status credit are earned on regular tickets. Now that they have downgraded the route from A330 to 737 there is no incentive to fly business until their revolutionary 737 businesss config appears in several years time. The subpar Qantas 737 and Jetstar A320 flights are unfortunately still the better options to SIN. KLIA can't compete with Changi although it will be interesting to see how much of an improvement can be made following the refurbishment of the Malaysia lounges in KLIA.
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  • JBL


    9 Aug, 2017 11:19 am

    Is this in sync with the rumours of a stronger BA, MH and QF tie up?
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  • Himeno


    9 Aug, 2017 04:21 pm

    What rumours?
    QF isn't going to make an alliance with MH or return to the JBV with BA unless the ACCC doesn't renew the agreement with EK.
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  • David Robertson

    David Robertson

    9 Aug, 2017 05:55 pm

    What 'rumours'? BA already flies to KL, why would it need to enter into some stronger alliance or even a 'joint venture' with MH? And if anything I could see Qantas restarting Sydney-KL or Melbourne-KL flights on its own, it doesn't need MH any more than it needs JAL for Tokyo routes.
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  • Michael


    9 Aug, 2017 11:30 am

    I don't think the China locations are that 'obscure'. A lot of them already have direct flights into Australia, and besides, Singapore Airlines/Silkair already cover more, and I'd argue more important, destinations (like China's fastest growing area Chongqing).
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  • afloskar


    9 Aug, 2017 12:07 pm

    It would be nice if they flew a 787-8 from BNE daily inf say 2019.
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  • Jedinak K

    Jedinak K

    9 Aug, 2017 12:09 pm

    Would the Boeing 737-10 have enough range for KL-BNE? 

    Hoping for MH to order either the A330neos or the B787s to resume services that they discontinued.
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  • Matt J


    9 Aug, 2017 02:34 pm

    737 is 2x2x2 as the A330 from PER? 😒
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  • Lifestobelived


    9 Aug, 2017 03:40 pm

    Pity about the loss of the A330, that had a nice J class...  737s just take them down level with QF's crap offering to Asia...  As for worrying about QF servicing Perth they do stuff all so not sure MH should worry about it even once we get this revolutionary/run of the mill 787 service finally......
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  • mjduckby89


    9 Aug, 2017 05:44 pm

    It's more than a little concerning that Mr Bellew even considered flying narrow bodies to Brisbane. A few hours on a narrow body aircraft is already pushing the limits of passenger comfort in Y class, we certainly don't need 8 hour+ journeys on them!
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  • David Robertson

    David Robertson

    9 Aug, 2017 05:53 pm

    Nowhere does Peter Bellew say he considered putting Boeing 737s onto the Brisbane route, it read to me more like he simply stated the reality that they can't fly the route on a 737.
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  • Derek Conway


    9 Aug, 2017 08:28 pm

    Just did the 2.20am from Perth to KL for the 2nd time in 4 months - last time was on A330 - this time was B737 - it was excruciating even in business class
    I am a huge fan of MH and admire the changes being made to the airline - hopefully the 2nd 737 will be a daytime flight as they used to have a 4pm ex Perth
    Also do the overnighter from Mumbai that is a 737 though I understand some flights will be converted to A330 from November 1 - hallelujah !!
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  • smit0847


    10 Aug, 2017 02:12 am

    Yeah I really don't think MH are going to be taking away pax from anyone on the kangaroo route. 
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  • Tlar


    10 Aug, 2017 10:34 am

    Come back to DARWIN!!!!! 
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  • Kevin Jackson

    Kevin Jackson

    11 Aug, 2017 09:15 pm

    I have flown with MAS for over 40 years.

    I have watched a wonderful airline dwindle to nothing with poor food,

    unacceptable timings of the Perth flights and NOW 737's. What an insult. The Frequent Flyer program is now a joke.

    It looks like it is not difficult to kill an airline.

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  • TheFreqFlyer


    5 Oct, 2017 08:27 pm

    Very strange that any airline can justify flying from a city like KL to Darwin (yes, Malaysian Airlines flies to Darwin!) but axe Brisbane. How many people from Darwin could fill a plane to KL? Yet from Brisbane, you also have Gold Coast and Sunshine coast passengers, each of which taken alone already has more potential passengers than Darwin does. Unless there is a good reason to hang onto Darwin, which has absolutely no need for a full service airline anyway, Malaysia should ditch Darwin and go back to Brisbane. If it can maintain both, good, but right now I find it puzzling that any Asian carrier could maintain a viable connection to that little outpost in the north of Australia, other than budget airlines flying from Denpasar (Bali).
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    6 Oct, 2017 08:39 am

    Malaysia Airlines axed Darwin flights back in June due to being unprofitable over a number of years.
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  • Graeme Whittell


    11 Jan, 2018 07:44 am

    This is now reality. They have just announced they are returning to this route(KUL/BNE) with a four times a week service from June 6.
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  • Longreach


    11 Feb, 2018 04:15 pm

    Now that is totally ridiculous. Twice a day to Perth and four times a week from June 2018 to a larger city with a very much larger catchment.
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  • Derek Conway


    11 Feb, 2018 04:23 pm

    The 2am departure(if its on time) from Perth to KL is sheer torture
    If they intend to continue a 737 service on this route they need a day time flight - what happened to the 9am from KL returning at 4pm from Perth ?
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22 Jul, 2019 05:51 am


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