What A380 game is Malaysian playing?
Malaysian Airlines has been playing musical chairs with its CEO, and their strategic planning seems to be on the same merry-go-round – to mix metaphors.
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First they got A380’s. Then they were going to get rid of them. Then they were going to replace them with A350’s. Then set up a separate airline with them. And now, they are hanging on to them to use as temp aircraft on routes with high seasonal demand. If you want the full rundown exclusive on this, try AusBT, or if you want a more ‘fulsome’ summary of the history – try Lucky.
Let’s cut to the chase
Well, presuming that they stay with the current strategy (which is by no means guaranteed), then there are some potential advantages for frequent flyers and points travellers.
London here we come
Malaysian Airlines are planning to continue to use the A380’s between Kuala Lumpur and London – their most popular route – and part of mine, although I originate in Sydney. This means that they retain the same number of seats in all classes going to London. There is even the possibility that they will use the A380’s between Australia (Sydney, please!) and KL, instead of their usual A330’s.
Don’t get me wrong – the A330 Malaysian is a fine aircraft, as this shot of the business class cabin attests. It’s just, that it’s not as good as the A380.
Malaysian Airlines was due to start KL to London flights with their brand spanking new A350’s with new fabulous interiors.
But now, apparently not.
This is what looks like happening: KL to London will be on the A380 (that’s whats showing up in 2018 between July 20 and September 3 (MH2/3). According to some websites, the A380 will also appear on other routes from KL originally slated to use the A350, and this includes Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Seoul and Tokyo. OK, if you were planning travelling in First Class, this is good for you, as the A380 has twice as many First seats as the A350. On the other hand, for premium – maybe not so good, as the new Business and Ffirst class on the A350’s has all aisle access, which the A380 does not.
I wouldn’t go holding my breath that this stays as is. At the moment it looks like the status quo, represented by the homegrown MA lifer employee – CEO Captain Izham Ismail is in charge and returning the airline back to the future, which will also involve government influence and potential corruption over the economic running of the airline. If the winds change again, and the airline starts hemorrhaging money as it was a few years ago – you could expect another change of CEO – recruiting one from outside – again.
Or, maybe its just because they are stuck with those A380’s and they have to make a turbo-charged jet plane out of a rubber band driven propeller?
We will see – but in the meantime, let’s hope they go on the airfare discounting spree they went for back in 2014/15 when I last travelled with them.
And Captain Ismail, while you’re there, can you do something about those appalling lounges in KL ?