Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2011 Contents AsianAviation | MAY 2011 23
With renewed concern over spiralling fuel prices, Malaysia Airlines has had to moderate its expansion plans,
focusing on the most promising markets, writes William Dennis.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS)
says it intends to add
capacity on routes within
Asia, with particular focus
on China and India, two
of the world's fastest-
With a strong presence in both markets already,
the carrier has rmed up plans to fully utilise its
tra c rights to the countries. In China, MAS
operates to Shanghai, Beijing, Kunming, Xiamen
and Hong Kong, while its Indian network covers
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
According to MAS Managing Director and
Chief Executive O cer Azmil Zahruddin, the
airline had been planning an overall 10 percent
capacity increase in 2011, before jet fuel prices
began to surge once again.
"Due to the spike in jet fuel prices, we have to
look at growth of less than 10 percent," Azmil said
in an inter view in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian flag carrier increased its fuel
surcharges more than 10 per cent in April to help
o set rising costs, as jet fuel price hovered close to
US$140 a barrel. Should the price continue to rise,
it could seriously hurt the global aviation industry,
MAS is con dent that it will be able to maintain
its strong footing in the Australian market, despite
the competition it faces from Kuala Lumpur-based
long-haul low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Asia X on
routes to Perth and Melbourne. Azmil said MAS is
ready to deal with intensi ed competition, should
AirAsia X be granted rights to operate to Sydney.
"We are not going to let it trouble us," Azmil
noted, pointing out that MAS can feed tra c from
the Sydney route to the rest of its global network,
increasing its appeal to travellers.
AirAsia X has been pressing the Ministry of
Transport in Kuala Lumpur for almost a year for
rights to Sydney, but has yet to receive a response.
In Europe, MAS operates to London, Frankfurt,
Paris and Amsterdam, but plans for expansion
in the market have been put on hold due to the
region's weak economies. MAS has no plans to
resume ser vices to Stockholm, which it previously
served three times a week using Boeing 777-200
aircra . e carrier suspended the ser vice, along
with its New York ights, in 2009 during the global
According to Azmil, the carrier is constantly
reviewing market conditions in considering
whether to reinstate its suspended routes.
MAS is considering the possibility of resuming
Ne w Yo rk ights via the Middle East or Europe, but
Azmil has ruled out operating the service via Dubai
because of competition from Emirates, which o ers
multiple daily frequencies including one using its
largest aircra , the Airbus A380.
According to one Kuala Lumpur-based analyst,
it would be di cult for MAS to secure the right
to operate to New York via a major European hub.
MAS has set itself a ve-year goal of becoming
one of Asia's preferred airlines by 2015. To achieve
this, the carrier is trying to enhance passenger
ser vice and has embarked on a major eet renewal
e carrier's ageing single-aisle eet of 35 Boeing
737-400 jetliners is gradually being phased out and
replaced by Next-Generation 737-800s. MAS has
outstanding orders for 35 737-800s and purchase
rights for another 20.
Four aircra have already been delivered, con gured
in a two-class layout seating 16 in business class and
144 in economy class. Another two will join the eet
later this year, with the remaining 29 to be delivered
on a staggered schedule through to 2015.
Boeing has o ered MAS the choice of converting
some of its 737-800 orders or options to 737-
900ERs, and Azmil does not rule out the possibility
that the carrier may do so. "We are looking at our
options," the MAS chief said.
MAS to focus on China, India markets
"Due to the spike in jet fuel prices, we have to look at growth
of less than 10 percent." -- Azmil Zahruddin
Malaysia Airlines is replacing its ageing 737
Classic fleet with Next-Generation models.
Links Archive AAV April 2011 AAV June 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page