Malaysian Airlines to Withdraw A380

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  JH_1234 19 Jan 2017
at 20:05
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  • DerekVH
    Participant

    Malaysian Airlines has announced it will be replacing the A380 on the KUL-LHR route with an A350 in April 2018. It has been reported that the route is currently unprofitable with the A380 aircraft. One assumes the A350 will have no First Class and that MH will attempt to dispose of all A380 aircraft post delivery of the A350’s.

    On a more positive note MH are now offering F passengers Champagne before take off but no change to the alcohol policy on flights <4 hours.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    DerekVH – Thanks for posting.

    In fact we announced that Malaysia Airlines (MAB) would be acquiring a number of A350s back in September 2015.

    At the time it was thought that these would likely replace the A380s which are really too large for the needs of MAB.

    Malaysia Airlines orders four A350-900s

    MAB still cannot find a buyer for its six A380s. Four are rostered for the KUL-LHR route so MAB has two surplus to requrements. The latter tend to operate the pilgrim flights to Saudi Arabi and the occasional charter.

    A previous thread referred to the fact that MAB/MAS was looking to convert its A380s into a 700-seat version which would operate a new pilgrim service to Saudi Arabia.

    Malaysia Airlines plans to operate 700-seat A380s


    apmeredith
    Participant

    The A380 is a great aircraft to fly on and it is a shame that MH (together with other airlines) can not make a viable business case for it. It was clearly a great step up for MH from the aging 747s flying on the KUL-LHR route as the comfort (seat width in both J and Y) and quietness are far superior. It was a pity that MH never introduced a premium economy cabin on this route (Air Asia conspiracy theory maybe?) as I think this would have been a major success, as the BA flight is now showing. I look forward to seeing what the A350 will be like and hope that MH can find a buyer, or make a business case of the Haj/Umrah/Charter flights, for the A380s


    JohnHarper
    Participant

    I love flying on the A380 but if there is one plane that is nicer it’s the A350. I hope MH improve their business class offering maybe with a 1-2-1 configuration like CX. That, coupled with their service will be an absolute winner on the route.


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    They’re not using the A380 well, not a great market to KUL though if they offered a through flight in the same aircraft (& better pitch in economy) to Oz or other Asian destinations and a restaurant stop in KUL they’d fill the ‘plane and beat EK at their own game. Malaysian always have good cabin service and KUL is apptly named for a stopover!


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Flightlevel – MAS would fly its A380s right through to Australia if it could. The (Malaysia-Australia) ASA restricts MAS’ capacity into Australia and, as you may know, Malaysia’s total capacity has to be shared with that of AirAsiaX.

    It is true that MAS has operated a few A380 flights into Australia but that was for a limited period.

    MAS, along with TG/SQ, have/still operate(d) A380 flights into Hong Kong.


    JH_1234
    Participant

    Pre-takeoff fizz in J too. Just flew back yesterday and I’d say the catering (which was good before) has gone up a notch. Completely full flight, which apparently has been a regular occurrence for the last month or two.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    All interesting stuff.

    DerekVH, the teetotal limit is 3 hours, not 4 – which is why alcohol is still offered on the HKG route. I happen to know this since I have been flying MH quite frequently HKG-KUL-LHR and back – despite my CX Marco Polo Club membership and the “revaluation” CX did for flights on partner airlines, it still earns the same Club points (equivalent to BA Tier Points) as flying nonstop on CX, but at a fraction of the price. I am consistently getting prices of GBP2,150 return for a flexible J ticket. Annoyingly long stopover in KUL on the way there, and an uncomfortably tight connection on the way back, but I plan for those so still feasible for me.

    As and when they replace the A380 with the A350, I wonder if the cheap fares to London will cease? I hope not. I like the service on board (although the lounges are pretty poor – although mind you, I love being able to use the QR lounge coming out of LHR!) and for the price it is excellent and consistent value. In fact, I am flying them so much that I am seriously considering abandoning Marco Polo for Enrich (MH’s programme), not just because it is easier to achieve top-tier status (100,000 miles – CX have of course changed their system but it still seems to equate to the old target of 120,000 miles) but also because they offer top-tier members a card for their spouse as well – and the Memsahib would very much like to be OW emerald again!

    Does anyone know when the airframe switch on the London route will take place?


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Ian – The A350s are expected in 2018. Then the plan is to retire the A380s.

    When airlines offer less capacity then fares will rise because fewer seats need to be filled.

    The A380s are currently too large for the needs of MAS. One suspects that MAS is filling its A380 seats because of its low fares.

    Right now MAS has a New Year sale (book by January 31) from the UK which allows travel between now and June 30.

    The prices in both business and economy class are a bargain (when you consider they include taxes/fees/charges) and are the same price or less than what low-cost Air Asia X was charging when it last flew from London.

    Return fares from London to Australia cost £629 economy. Return fares to SE Asia cost upwards of £479.

    Business class is priced at just £1,989/£1,999 return to Australia … but unlike the economy sales these business class rates are valid right through until November 30.

    http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/uk/en/deals/deals-of-the-day.html


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Shame that the sale doesn’t appear to include flights to Hong Kong!

    Thanks for the information, Alex. I am still in the process of working out all the implications of switching to MH’s Enrich programme. I don’t have to decide until July, so perhaps I will be able to see the revised fares then (although I suspect that there will be a transitional period before the fares settle).

    For those who are considering the sale fares in the meantime – I can recommend them. Lounges in KUL are poor but use of the QR lounge in London gives one of the best lounge experiences in Heathrow, service on board is very good, there is a pre-flight meal booking service and a HUGE range of snack menu items on board (16 on my last flight, if I remember correctly).


    JH_1234
    Participant

    Ian – I’ve been Enrich Platinum for a few years now (London-based) and I find it works well. I think one of the most useful benefits is the First check-in at KL and escort down through immigration and security to get you past the queues. There’s apparently a kerbside meet and greet service also, though I’ve yet to have cause to use it.

    The First lounge in London isn’t bad (a bit quieter than the Business lounge), and the Platinum lounge in KL is much better than the Business Lounges there (especially when it comes to the showers; plus there are bedrooms available if you need a nap between flights).

    Being Platinum has yet to get me an upgrade on MH, but ironically I’ve had two on BA.

    Redemptions are, I think, slightly cheaper than their Avios equivalents, e.g. LHR-KUL return in Business is 150k cf 180k Avios if I remember correctly. Not sure how that compares to Asia Miles. MH have also recently increased the earnings rate, e.g, First gets 300%, Business between 160-200%.

    Re the sale fares, there are also some good First deals via the web site, albeit tricky to find. Cheapest seems to be LHR-KUL-BKK and other regional destinations (e.g. HKT, PNH, but annoyingly not HKG, although there are Business Promo fares between KUL and HKG if you don’t mind booking separately – I’ve just booked LHR-BKK with a stopover in KUL and a side-trip to HK). Searching for a First round-trip for eg LHR-BKK throws an error, so the trick is to do a multi-city search and split LHR-KUL and KUL-BKK in at least one direction. You then specify First for the longhaul legs (or First one way and Business the other) and Business for the others. First both ways was coming out around £2.6k, First out Business back £2.1k and Business both ways £1.5k. That’s ex-LHR – not sure about the other way around. KUL-HKG in Business was around MYR2k (roughly £400) but only on the 737 flights – add 50% for the new A330 seats 🙁

    Oh, possibly worth knowing – Enrich works on a calendar year basis, not membership anniversary…


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Thanks, JH – very interesting.

    Forget the MH lounge in LHR, just use the QR lounge if you are flying J or F – status doesn’t work but business or first tickets on MH give you access and it really is miles better than the MH lounge (even than the F side!).

    On the calendar year system – how does that work if you qualify mid-year? Let’s say you reach status in March – do you get 9 months or 21 months?


    JH_1234
    Participant

    It seems to be rest-of-year plus all-of-next plus Jan-to-March of the following.


    UncleDude
    Participant

    MH used to offer some First Class Award seats to other One World Members, but that stopped some time ago on the A380. Seems they are happier with Empty First Class seats than the lower Mileage Revenue.


    JH_1234
    Participant

    Plenty of MH availability showing on BA.com for Avios redemptions when I looked just now, albeit only one First seat per flight.

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