Recently we reported how Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific was considering a premium economy class (see online news January 12).
Now we can reveal that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has already decided to go down this route.
Flag-carrier MAS will begin taking delivery of the first of six A380 super jumbos starting in the second half of 2011. These aircraft will be fitted with a premium economy cabin.
The news was broken by Dr Armin Khan, MAS’ senior GM for network and revenue management, in an interview with The Star (Malaysia’s leading English language newspaper).
Says Dr Khan, “We expect our A380s will be configured for 510 passengers as against 359 for our existing B747s. MAS will be introducing a ‘super economy’ class on the top of the current first, business and economy classes. The new class will have more leg room amongst other features.”
It seems likely that MAS will emulate Australia’s Qantas and install premium economy at the rear of the A380’s upper deck.
MAS says it will utilise its A380s on the kangaroo route linking London Heathrow with Sydney via Kuala Lumpur. At present MAS flies twice daily to London and it will use the A380s to boost capacity at Heathrow instead of seeking a third daily service.
Introducing premium economy is a smart move for MAS, as kangaroo route rival SIA is located only 200 miles away across the Causeway in Singapore.
SIA does not offer a premium economy cabin (and continually tells us it has no plans to introduce one) so MAS can go after SIA’s full fare economy passengers.
Report by Alex McWhirter