MAS to suspend eight routes effective early 2012

Malaysia Airlines will suspend eight loss-making flight routes next year to further control costs.

They include the daily Kuala Lumpur–Surabaya routes, which will be suspended effective January 6, thrice-weekly Kuala Lumpur-Dubai (Jan 10), twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur–Karachi–Dubai (Jan 12), twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur–Dubai–Damman (Jan 13), daily Langkawi–Penang–Singapore (Jan 30), thrice-weekly Kuala Lumpur–Johannesburg (Jan 31), twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur–Cape Town–Buenos Aires (Feb 1) and thrice-weekly Kuala Lumpur–Rome (Feb 2).

Alternative arrangements on other carriers would be made for those who have booked tickets for flights on these routes after the suspension dates, MAS said in a statement yesterday.

It said that the suspension will be gradual, in line with its route rationalisation exercise unveiled last week.

“The withdrawal was based on our own independent internal profitability and yield analysis,” Malaysia Airlines’ group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said.

“This accounts for almost 12 per cent of our passenger capacity and we estimate that the ongoing route rationalisation will improve loads, increase yields and have a profit impact of RM220 million to RM302 million for 2012,” he said.

The above route rationalisation is expected to have minimal impact on Malaysia’s position as a top tourist destination in Asia “as we will work aggressively with our code share partners,” he said.

Ahmad Jauhari said that through the national airline’s existing arrangements with the code sharing partners, it will continue to promote connectivity between Malaysia and key international destinations as well as contribute towards the overall efforts by the various authorities to increase tourist arrivals to Malaysia.

“We also hope to return to these markets after we have stabilised our business.

“Malaysia Airlines regrets the inconvenience caused to passengers as a result of these changes and assures that it will honour all forward bookings ticketed to date on the affected routes,” he said.

Ahmad Jauhari said that it will make alternative carrier arrangements, at its own cost, to ensure minimum discomfort to passengers.

“The impact of the above rationalisation on Malaysia Airlines’ cargo operations is also expected to be minimal as the national carrier continues to maintain its key cargo destinations in the United Kingdom, Europe, Orient, Australia, Middle East, South Africa and the United States,” he said.

– Bernama