MAS’ A380s will offer premium economy

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.

Visit malaysiaairlines.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter


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  • Very Interesting move by Malaysian.

    Air Asia has taken much of their domestic & regional business, & the route KUL- STN offers a fair of about £500 one way for a “Premium” seat.

    BT reported that these are on an old Canadia Air Aircraft A340 so the old style business seat. Probably, this will offer more comfort than Malaysian’s premium economy?

    Taking other premium Economy fares on these routes, they tend to be 2-3 times the economy fare. (E.g Virgin Atlantic LHR -SYD £1,300+).

    Malaysian has an opportunity to be innovative here…?

    Wish they would sort out a proper Alliance, as they have limited value for earning miles & Membership miles for Skyteam. This could be a bounce back for good old MH, that look a bit tired these days….

  • As a smart, cost-conscious finance officer for a company that quantifies employee productivity versus costs, if I know that a travelling employee will have the benefit of proper rest at a hotel upon arrival prior to a full work day, I would require the employee to fly in standard Economy class and forego the full fare.

    If a full-night’s or proper rest isn’t possible, there is no question that I would continue to mandate an employee to travel in Business Class where the seat recline is suitable for rest regardless of whether the seat is fully lie-flat (as in most airlines) or close to it. I would not take the risk of my travelling employee not being productive while on a business trip.

    I totally agree with SIA’s philosophy of foregoing Premium Economy. Should airlines redesign a Y class seat so that it reclines at least 60 degrees from vertical and call it Premium Economy, then I will consider it as a substitute for J, C or Y seats.

    It is indeed a question of saving money; but investing money wisely on travelling employees (who are required increasingly to justify all business-reimbursable travel) is equally critical these days.

  • I had heard that MAS are not going ahead with premier economy class which doesn’t make sense as their Oneworld partners have it ? Can anyone confirm this.

    It seems so difficult to get any info on MAS new A380 , I thought that they would be shouting from the roof tops telling the world about it

  • MH will launch its inaugural A380 flight on Jul 1 for the KUL-LHR sector. If you do an online booking, you’ll find that there is no premium economy available for booking. So it’s true there won’t be premium economy on MH.

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