Malindo Air eyes non-stop Brisbane-KL flights in growth plan

Malindo Air eyes non-stop Brisbane-KL flights in growth plan

Malaysia-based airline Malindo Air is gearing up to launch non-stop flights from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur by the year’s end as it moves to attract Queensland flyers to its KLIA hub: either as a destination itself or as a stopover point en route to one of many other cities.

It’s an ambitious plan for one of the fastest-growing airlines in Asia, which began one-stop flights from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur via Denpasar (Bali) only two months ago using Boeing 737 jets – with non-stop flights a possibility once the airline takes hold of its new, longer-range Airbus A330s.

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller in Brisbane, Malindo Air Founding CEO Chandran Rama Muthy shares that “we would like to upgrade at least three of those flights each week to Kuala Lumpur (from one-stop to non-stop services), with the remaining flights continuing via Bali.”

“It’s needless to introduce Bali to Australians, but the idea is to make Kuala Lumpur into a transit hub. We would really like the Brisbane market to connect through Kuala Lumpur… as we fly to 16 countries and 45 destinations, with Brisbane our 45th,” Muthy continues.

Non-stop flights could take wing “as early as December, if not a little sooner”, and would bring a significant upgrade for business class travellers: swapping the 12 reclining seats of the Boeing 737s to 18 fully-flat beds on the Airbus A330s, once delivered to the airline later this year.

New lounge, new partnerships, new brand

Malindo Air business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers currently receive access to the Plaza Premium Lounge in Kuala Lumpur, although Malindo Air will open its own dedicated lounge at KLIA in approximately six months’ time, with construction already underway.

The airline also aims to triple its ‘interline’ airline partnerships from five to 15 by the end of the year – allowing passengers to connect through Kuala Lumpur onto a wider variety of destinations and airlines on a single reservation – and plans to announce its first codeshare venture next month.

For those not adept with ‘travel lingo’, Muthy quips that “interlines are like going out with a girlfriend… once you’re happy with her, you get married: and for us, that’s called a codeshare”, with the airline’s five current interline partners being ANA, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.

Malindo Air will also change its name to Batik Malaysia in the second half of this year, doing away with the ‘Malindo’ brand – a portmanteau of ‘Malaysia’ and ‘Indonesia’ – and creating familiarity with its Indonesian sister airline Batik Air, which will similarly be known as Batik Indonesia.

As Australian Business Traveller reported earlier this week, Batik Air will launch its own non-stop flights from Denpasar to Perth on June 21, joining Malindo Air’s existing (and non-stop) Perth-Kuala Lumpur flights, which use a mix of Boeing 737-800 and 737-900ER aircraft.

With Malindo Air the global launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, Muthy hints that Perth could see the next-gen jet in the future, although “right now, we’re focusing that aircraft towards Pakistan, Nepal and North India instead.”

Brisbane has not seen a non-stop Kuala Lumpur service since August 2015 when Qantas partner Malaysia Airlines withdrew from the route as part of a broader operational restructure to stem ongoing losses.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

7 Comments

  • afloskar

    afloskar

    26 May, 2017 10:08 am

    Will they be annouced in December or started in December?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    26 May, 2017 10:14 am

    As above: "Non-stop flights could take wing “as early as December, if not a little sooner”".
    ('Take wing' means to 'take flight' - a more colourful way of saying 'begin'.)
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    26 May, 2017 10:22 am

    Ok thanks sorry for the confusion
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    26 May, 2017 10:48 am

    No drama! :)
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  • djcz

    djcz

    26 May, 2017 11:28 am

    This is great news! I don't really understand why MH dropped BNE... even after their series of unfournate events, I flew them to BNE and still found the aircraft rather full.
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  • Michael Kao

    Michael Kao

    26 May, 2017 12:24 pm

    Me too. I also don't understand. But MH has been making a lot of changes that doesn't make sense, such as the recent massive devaluation on the Enrich program, basically penalizing their loyal customers.

    I understand BNE's demand is not as high as SYD/MEL, but considering that MH retains their service with PER/ADL while cutting BNE out completely just doesn't make sense, especially we don't even have competition from Air Asia to BNE.

    Malindo seem to be able to see the market demand.
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  • AgentB

    OzAgent

    26 May, 2017 12:12 pm

    Do you have any information as yet with regards to Air Asia beginning BNE services this year?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    26 May, 2017 12:25 pm

    As we always say, when there's news to report, we'll report it. ;)
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  • ianvagg

    ianvagg

    26 May, 2017 03:06 pm

    Have flown Malindo on business class 737 good service looking forward to their direct flights to Kl from Brisbane
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  • moa999

    moa999

    26 May, 2017 03:53 pm

    Will be interesting to see D7 Air Asia X's response. They already fly to OOL and it is often much cheaper than SYD/MEL on the same dates
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    27 May, 2017 09:45 am

    Airasia x could jump onto the Brisbane route before we know it
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  • moa999

    moa999

    30 May, 2017 10:32 am

    Anyone know if the 18/374 configuration on Wikipedia is correct - it's even more dense than D7 Air Asia X (at 12/365 - so an extra row of Biz and Y, although granted D7 has a lie flat product upfront)
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    30 May, 2017 12:54 pm

    Assuming you're talking about the A330, 18 business class seats is correct (confirmed with the airline's CEO) - can't speak for Economy though as this wasn't discussed.
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24 Oct, 2017 01:02 pm

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