Exclusive to Executive Traveler
Malaysia Airlines continues to expand flights to Australia, with the Oneworld member on track to largely resume its pre-pandemic schedule to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth by December 1.
“We already have 10 flights a week to Melbourne and Sydney, and we expect that to grow back to pre-COVID capacity with 14 flights a week, a double daily service in November-December,” said Giles Gilbert, Regional Manager from Malaysia Airlines for Australia and New Zealand.
“In Adelaide we expect to be back on five flights a week; Perth will probably be at ten and for Brisbane we hope to have three or four a week.”
Those increases are driven by steady demand growth in both directions – “it’s increasing every week” – with the business class cabin now proving particularly popular with holidaymakers.
“We’re definitely seeing customer demand for a more premium product from people who would normally have flown in economy,” Gilbert said. Executive traveler.
“I think there’s an expectation that they’re going to make it a good holiday.”
This includes onward travel to London, Malaysia Airlines’ European flagship destination, with two flights per day on the modern A350s.
“We’ve been back on the double daily route for a little over a month now, so the route to London is doing very well.”
London is calling
At the airline’s Kuala Lumpur hub, both Golden Lounge and Platinum Lounge are now open around the clock, while new routes include twice-daily flights to Doha alongside its partner Qatar Airways, plus flights to Haneda Airport in central Tokyo next to Narita further afield are targeted at the currently limited Japanese market .
“It’s a gradual start because Japan is still in lockdown mode,” Gilbert says, “but Haneda has always been a target, so we thought we’d try it, and it seems to be going really well at the moment.”
Another new pin on the map is a direct route between Singapore and Kota Kinabalu, on the island of Borneo, which is close to tropical islands and lush rainforests.
“Overall, we definitely see opportunities and take advantage of them to expand our network.”
That expansion, as well as the relatively rapid network rebuild from 2019, has been made easier by the airline’s decision not to place aircraft in deep storage.
Instead, planes were “flown on a rotational basis,” Gilbert . tells us Executive traveler, “and operate them primarily as cargo flights with few or no passengers on board.”
This decision was prompted by Group CEO Captain Izham Ismail’s first-hand experience and “his knowledge of the complexities of getting an aircraft back into service,” Gilbert reveals.
“In hindsight, of course, is wonderful, and we can now see how other airlines have struggled to get their fleets back up and running, because the engineering time to get an aircraft out of storage is quite long, and engineering departments are usually not overstaffed anyway. .”
Malaysia Airlines was “very lucky,” Gilbert said, “because the entire fleet is still operational.”
While the courier keeps flying his workhorse Airbus A330s with business class flat lay to most Australian cities, which will be replaced by the newer A330neo model from 2023; Boeing 737 short-haul aircraft now get a fresh look and passenger experience by an upgrade to new business and economy seats.
Gilbert also reports continued involvement in the MHBiz Loyalty Programscovering both self-booking business travelers and companies that rely on an appointed third-party travel management agency.
“Certainly in this day and age, companies want to save money; we certainly offer business customers great discounts when they travel again, because face-to-face meetings work so much better than Zoom!”
“And one of the great things about the MHBiz programs is that the discounts can also be used for leisure travel,” he adds.
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