It is a fact now that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will cancel all flights from Kuala Lumpur to Darwin and vice versa come July 28.
This follows after a network rationalisation exercise, in which MAS chief executive officer Peter Bellew said the airline had been “losing a fortune” on the route for a decade, therefore it doesn’t make any sense for it to be maintained, according to New Straits Times. Bellew said four routes were on the “red list”, with flights to Australia and New Zealand, in particular also suffering. MAS apologised for “any inconvenience caused to customers,” and it’s offering reallocation plans for affected passengers who had purchased the flights.
At the same time, Bellew wants MAS to expand the number of cities it flies to, which could potentially add to its profit, especially those in China.
He told NST, that it’s about “flying smart” and the airline should be heading to places its consumers want to go. He said that this is an opportunity for Malaysia to benefit from tourists from China and deemed the move as a “no-brainer”. Bellew said currently Chinese tourists are also spending a lot more in Malaysia, including the duty-free shops at airports, so it made sense for MAS to focus on the Asian giant. Japan too, he added, is a possibility.
In recent times, AirAsia has also zoomed in on the Chinese market. The Malaysian budget carrier partnered with Everbright and Henan Government Working Group to establish a low-cost carrier (LCC) in China. The parties had signed a memorandum of understanding which outlines how it will establish a joint venture known as AirAsia (China), in operating a low-cost aviation business based in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province in central China.
In addition, AirAsia (China) will invest in aviation infrastructure, including a dedicated LCC terminal at Zhengzhou airport and an aviation academy to train pilots, crew and engineers, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities to service aircraft.
Meanwhile Australia’s NT News reported that the shocking move is a blow which has caught travellers, travel agents and its “ Territory Government” off guard. The report also said there was confusion when exactly the service will finish and that travellers who have paid for flights from Darwin were told that their flights would depart from Singapore instead.
The incident has apparently angered several travelers who were also told their tickets would not be refunded, said the report.
NT tourism minister Lauren Moss, said this news is extremely disappointing, but one that has ultimately been made for commercial reasons.