Malaysian Airlines to Axe the A380 by Early 2018
All Malaysian Airline A380 services will cease in the first quarter of 2018. This is happening only six years after they took delivery of their first A380. Their remaining sole A380 service to Heathrow will be swapped to an A350-900 in January 2018 on MH4/5 leaving only 1x daily flight as an A380. Then, in March 2018, the prestigious MH1/2 flights will be swapped to an A350-900 as well.
Malaysian Airlines (MH) has six A380s in its fleet carrying a 3-class configuration of 8 First class, 66 Business class and 420 Economy seats. Only Paris and London were destinations where MH could hope to sell all of those seats, and now only London remains.
MH have attempted to sell/lease their remaining Super Jumbos, however very few airlines are interested in operating the 4 engine double decker, with most airlines opting for the hyper efficient twin engine wide-bodies. MH does see a future for the A380, however, providing charter flights for pilgrimages under a subsidiary company “Project Hope”. Offering flights from ASEAN countries to Medina in Saudi Arabia. These A380s will be configured in a high density Economy class configuration. This new company is expecting to arise early 2019.
MH currently have six Airbus A350-900 aircraft on order with an expected configuration of more than 300 seats. For comparison Cathay Pacific A350s are configured with 280 seats, and Ethiopian with 343 seats. The A350 will be a blessing for MH on the London to KUL route, as it was “soul-destroying” for the MH staff to see some A380s with only 60-70 passengers on-board during early 2016. The A350 is also 40% cheaper to operate than the A380 and will offer a superior product to travellers in all classes. CEO Christoph Mueller has already flagged an interest in adding more “in order to reach a critical fleet size, allowing standby aircraft for any scheduled maintenance and enabling future network expansion.”
MH also expects to lease multiple 777 aircraft and will potentially look at re opening old routes such as Istanbul and look to open new routes such as Manchester and Amsterdam. However, MH will not return to Paris as it is “extortionately expensive”.
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featured image by Wael Al-Qutub