Malaysia Airlines Confirms A380 Route Cut for Paris

Malaysia Airlines will retire the Airbus A380 from the Kuala Lumpur – Paris CDG market from the start of next month. This will leave the Kuala Lumpur – London Heathrow link as the sole market to be served by the Super Jumbo and will likely see the Oneworld alliance member cut its fleet of the type from six to just four units through the sale or lease of two of its fleet.

The confirmation of the expected removal of the A380 from the French market was revealed in an updated schedule inventory for the Asian flag carrier at the start of this month. The airline will switch the daily service from an A380 to a Boeing 777-200ER from August 4, 2015, ending a First Class offer on the route. The last A380 rotation will operate from Kuala Lumpur on August 3, 2015, arriving in Paris on the morning of August 4, 2015 and landing back in the Malaysian capital the following day.

UPDATE - 16JUL15 22:45 - Malaysia Airlines has subsequently scheduled an additional four A380 flights on the Kuala Lumpur - Paris CDG route for after the aircraft switch. This will see the SuperJumbo substitute for the 777-200ER on departures from Kuala Lumpur on August 17/18/21/29, 2015, with return flights from the French capital on August 18/19/22/30, 2015.

The troubled Asian national carrier Malaysia Airlines will be completely revamped as a business through the remainder of the year as its new boss takes drastic action to return the loss-making operator to profitability. Christoph Mueller, who joined as chief executive officer earlier this year from Aer Lingus has played important roles in the restructuring the Irish carrier and other European flag carriers.

The state-run airline’s sole shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, appointed an Administrator to facilitate the transfer of selected assets and liabilities from the existing Malaysian Airline System Berhad to new company Malaysia Airlines Berhad in May 2015. The current business will continue to operate through to August 31, 2015, with the new operator, effectively a start-up, taking to the air from September 1, 2015.

The voluntary administration followed the passing of a special Malaysia Airlines administration act by both houses of the Malaysian Parliament last year to provide for “an effective, efficient and seamless means to transition the business, property, rights, liabilities and affairs”.

The transition of the business is a key component of the 12-point MAS Recovery Plan, which was announced in August last year to restructure the national carrier and set it on a path towards sustainable profitability. The process also includes conditional investment funding by Khazanah of up to RM6 billion ($1.66 billion), disbursed on a staggered basis and subject to the fulfilment of strict conditions.

The ‘new’ Malaysia Airlines is expected to operate under a new brand and livery and recent schedule changes for winter 2015/2016 have provided an insight into its proposed network restructuring. Alongside the long anticipated removal of the A380 from the Kuala Lumpur – Paris market, the airline will terminate its flights from the Malaysian capital to Brisbane, Australia (from August 9, 2015) and Male, Maldives (from August 25, 2015) and cut frequencies to a number of other markets, according to its latest schedule inventory.

These include its links from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong; Guangzhou, China; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Manila, Philippines; Perth, Australia; Siem Reap, Cambodia; Taipei, Tawain and Yangon, Myanmar. These cuts, which take the form of frequency reductions and the cancellation of multiple rotations, will take effect from the middle of August ahead of the completion of its restructuring.

Malaysia Airlines has already ended regional flights to Kunming, China, Krabi, Thailand and Cochin, India, and long-haul services to Frankfurt this year, a market it has served for almost 40 years. The airline closed the route at the end of May 2015 and had served the German city on a five times weekly schedule using a 777-200ER. It first introduced flights to Frankfurt in the late 1970s initially on a weekly basis via Kuwait as a stop on a Douglas DC-10 routing to London Heathrow.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…