Business Traveller caught a glimpse of what premium customers can expect at Malaysia Airlines’ forthcoming T4 lounge next year.
The carrier is due to move to Heathrow’s T4 in mid 2009, and will offer business and first class passengers facilities based on the recently-opened regional lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
The new space at KLIA has been created with buzz words “natural” and “effortless” in mind, and features a light decor with materials such as sandstone, marble and driftwood. A new addition is the dedicated Noodle Bar, which will serve a variety of fresh noodle dishes throughout the day.
Wifi internet access, a business centre, showers and a nursery will all make an appearance in the new-style lounges, but the T4 area will not get spa facilities due to the difficulty in obtaining planning permission.
Heathrow will be the first to see the new lounge concept outside of Malaysia, with the facilities at Perth and Hong Kong airports also due for a revamp.
Meanwhile MAS has announced profits of RM 120 million (£19 million) for the first quarter of 2008. The results are the continuing fruits of the airline’s Business Transformation Plan, which has seen the carrier recover from record losses of RM 620 million (£98 million) in 2006, to post seven consecutive quarters of profit.
The turnaround has been achieved in part by the culling of its unprofitable routes, including Manchester – Kuala Lumpur which the carrier pointed out would have needed to operate at 140 per cent capacity just to break even. The airline's proposed new Gatwick-KL route (see online news January 9) will also not now go ahead.
MAS admitted that it faced a tough challenge this year with fuel costs continuing to soar, but pointed out that it has hedged 43 per cent of its fuel for 2008 at US$89, well below the current US$126 price.
Regarding the possibility of MAS joining one of the main airline alliances, the carrier said its preference has been to pursue code-sharing partnerships with individual airlines such as China Southern Airlines and the recently signed “memorandum of understanding” with Etihad.
MAS also announced the purchase of 55 Boeing 737-800s earlier this year, and will begin receiving the first of six A380 superjumbos in 2011.
For more information visit malaysiaairlines.com.
Report by Mark Caswell