LONDON – Malaysia Airlines say that they will be undertaking a route rationalisation exercise as part of its ongoing business review. As part of its review, the Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Brisbane (BNE), Australia route is to be suspended next year.
Kuala Lumpur-Brisbane route suspension
The exercise will be implemented in Q1 2023, with the suspension of the Kuala Lumpur-Brisbane route becoming effective from 27 March 2023.
The service to the Queensland state capital city of Brisbane is one of five non-stop Australian services currently offered by the Malaysian carrier.
Operations on non-stop flights between Kuala Lumpur to four other existing Australian destinations, namely Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne, will continue without change, providing up to 43 direct services a week between Australia and Malaysia.
Customers travelling to Brisbane can leverage on Malaysia Airlines’ codeshare and oneworld partner, Qantas and connect from Sydney and Melbourne to Brisbane (BNE) after the suspension of the KUL-BNE direct flight.
Malaysia Airlines comments
Explaining the airline’s rationale behind the proposed flight suspensions, Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Captain Izham Ismail said:
“After a thorough business review, we have made a difficult decision to suspend our operations into Brisbane to ensure we operate and utilise our fleet at an optimum level,”
“As well as maximising revenue on every route we fly to, while facing strong headwinds from the continued increase in fuel cost, forex and interest rate.”
The Australian market sector remains healthy
Despite this, the airline states that its forward booking to other Australian cities is very encouraging with strong demand up to and beyond the first quarter of 2023.
By comparison, its forward bookings are significantly ahead of the same period in 2019. Malaysia Airlines remains focused on ramping up its network to achieve full recovery by 2024.
To date, the carrier has deployed capacities at 76% year-to-date and anticipate ending the year with 82% capacity of pre-pandemic level network-wide but the general Australian market sector has rebounded quicker.
Excluding the suspension of the Brisbane services, Malaysia Airlines’ Australia network will be at 98% capacity of pre-pandemic levels by March 2023.
Growth over 2022
This year the carrier added new destinations from Kuala Lumpur to Doha, Haneda and Yogyakarta as well as from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore; and states that it will “continue to explore markets that spur economic growth for the country, whilst helping business and trade. We remain steadfast in our long-term goals of driving growth in every aspect of our business for market relevance.”
With demand in the Australian region remaining strong, Malaysia Airlines continues to maintain a stable connectivity between Malaysia and Australia.
Post-pandemic it has moved to quickly rebuild traffic between the two countries to boost economic growth and support business and trade.
The last flight on the suspended route will depart Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur on 26 March 2023 via MH134.