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Why Aren't Airlines Flying Into Klia?  
User currently offlineRupertvander82 From France, joined Dec 2002, 411 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 8189 times:

I've noticed that KLIA has been trying to lure airlines away from Singapore's Changi and Bangkok International Airport, but have little, if any, success. I know they approached Qantas, British Airways and Lufthansa to relocate their South East Asia Hub to KLIA, but the three airlines rejected their offers, and even reaffirmed their status with Singapore.

I just want to know, what is KLIA doing wrong here?

They have slashed landing fees (to some ridiculous low amount), offered countless incentives to new airlines flying into their airport, but still loosing the competition to Singapore and Bangkok.

From what I know, British Airways, Qantas, Lufthansa and Aeroflot were some airlines that pulled out from KLIA in the past few years. Which leaves MAS the only airline flying to some top Europe destinations, e.g. London, Paris, Frankfurt etc.

Malaysia has a huge domestic market, while Singapore has only about 4 million people. So why do airlines not find it profitable to fly into KL?

The last time I flew to KLIA, I was shocked to see that the huge airport was grossly under used, and it seems that there were only MAS, SQ and some middle east countries' planes!

33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8115 times:

Well you see its not only the airports problem its more of tourism and business. Malaysia is losing out in the competition for foreign investments mainly being not having as attractive offers as neighbouring countries trying to protect own countries' interest and the rising threat from China.

For tourism they really suck at it. Why on earth you want visa from so many people of a certain country when their people would love to come or at least give direct landing visa? but no... look at Thailand, that's what i call successful tourism, well Singapore Tourism Board working together wtih SIA does a good job too... and ya know, Vietnam is pretty good too their tourists arrivals exceeded expectations and they are setting higher targets for 2003, good for them, i see another rising country in the next 10 years.!

User currently offlineMas777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2939 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 8078 times:

Which countries were you concerned about Visas - they don't really apply to most if not all the airlines that left KL.

btw - Flew back from KL last Sunday and the airport was surprisingly busy! The restaurants were busy with queues for tables and the duty-free shops were also buzzing with activity. Incidently, despite the crowd, the airport was noticeably tranquil except for the Aerotrain area which seemed rather crowded.

User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8054 times:

Unfortunately there is not enough connections available via KUL. The straightforward route from Europe to Australia is via Singapore, SIN has enough flights from European cities and enough flights to various Australasian places to make it possible for most Europeans to fly to Australia/NZ with only one change of plane with a number of carriers offering competition on these routes. Travelling via KUL means you have to travel with MH or make more than one change of aircraft.

In addition, like many other travellers I cannot bear the sheer length of the Sydney-London flights and prefer to make a stopover in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur is a nice city but I prefer Singapore and in any case as I stated above if I want to go via KUL I have to travel with MH (which is not neccessarily a bad thing).

It is a shame though, to see such a great airport as KLIA with such overcapacity.


you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineCwapilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 1166 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8052 times:

...and the White Elephant lumbers on......

Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!
User currently offlineRupertvander82 From France, joined Dec 2002, 411 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8055 times:

Even if the visas pose as a hinderence, why don't airlines find KLIA an attractive hub in the South East Asian region?

User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6660 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8046 times:

Isn't government intereference in setting fares a problem?

User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8047 times:

Because they are already operating in and out of SIN or BKK......

If it ain't broke don't fix it.


you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
User currently offlineCapt.Picard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8040 times:

Given the choice, I'd much rather stopover in KUL (flown into and stayed in SIN countless times).

My only experience with MH (JNB-CPT-EZE and vice-versa) was extremely positive (I have yet to experience bad service on an Asian airline).

Mind you, I'm about to fly back to the UK from Sydney on Sunday....but via Seoul, with Korean. Lately, they've been offering the lowest fares on the UK-Australia route. The connections need improvement though, at least on the return leg. The flight from SYD gets in at 0605, with the London flight leaving at 1305, necessitating a short sleep in the transit hotel.

Shame KUL seems to be having these problems!

User currently offline9V-SPK From Hong Kong, joined Aug 2001, 1646 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8037 times:

The point that QantasB744 made is really important, the number of flights out of Singapore to various places aroundthe world are much more than flights out of KUL. Moreover, Changi is an airport that is well-known and very famous for its facilities which provide excellent connection services. Lots of passengers travelling on SQ are actually NOT heading for Singapore as their first destination but using SIN as a transit point. Moreover SQ is one of the best airline around the world...although MH and KUL airport, probably not the best but both provides excellent service to passengers, SQ and Changi have already set up a well-known reputation in the aviation industry which makes it hard to be replaced in the near future.

Best Regards

User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7988 times:

Singapore received 7 million visitor arrivals but Changi handled 28 million passengers. Most passengers who arrive in Changi do not get off.

User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (13 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7932 times:

Singapore received 7 million visitor arrivals but Changi handled 28 million passengers. Most passengers who arrive in Changi do not get off.

Actually, your method of comparison may be skewed.

You stated that SIN had 7m visitor arrivals. When an airline counts pax handled for a year, they count the number of enplanements and departures as well... [anecdotally] meaning that SIN handled somewhere around 14m arrivals. If that is correct, then basically half the pax arriving in SIN decided to stay at least some period of time.  Big grin

User currently offlineMas777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2939 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7871 times:

CWApilot - read my thread above - it was actually surprising to see KLIA busy that morning - a movement in the right direction. Another problem KLIA had was the sheer distance from the City Centre - a problem that has since been solved and the KLIA Express was a dream-ride. (Puts my local Gatwick Express to shame).

Even at 0630 the train carriages were busy, the check-in hall busy with most counters open with queues. There were lots of MAS flights arriving and departing, SQ, TG, AI, SV, CI, CX, NX and several CZ, Lionair and AK flights boarding/arriving. Not a bad start to the year! Duty-free shops were buzzing, DeliFrance and other food outlets ran out of tables and the Plaza Premium Lounge was a hive of activity. A white elephant it certainly was not.

I agree, at other times of the day however, the airport can be quiet - BUT THAT IS THE WHOLE BEAUTY BEHIND FLYING VIA KUL - the sheer tranquility of the place which was the idea behind Kurokawa's design - to give passengers the impression of space, airyness and comfort.

When our fully laden 747 touched down on arrival, there were probably only 200 people (at most) in the Satellite Terminal who were not from our flight and I thought, since there were so few flights, perhaps they ought to close the Satellite Terminal and just use the Main Terminal, but that morning I returned to LHR - it was clear that at peak times, both buildings are entirely necessary.

To end all further doubts about whether or not KLIA should have been built, think about this. If KLIA was never built, even with all the aforementioned airlines withdrawing from Subang's Terminal 1, the sheer growth in Malaysia Airlines itself (and with it passenger numbers) would have made the Subang impossible to cope with, with just 14 gates, one taxiway and 3 baggage reclaim belts!!!

Once the economic bloom returns and the prospect of war is over - passenger numbers will continue to rise (as they have ALWAYS done since its opening) and KLIA would see increasing usage.

...Build and they will come...

User currently offlineG-KIRAN From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2000, 736 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7859 times:

The peak times for KLIA are in the morning when the euopean flights land and asian and some australian flights depart and then in the evening when the flights to Europe depart.Outside these times KLIA is rather empty in terms of planes.However it can get crowded,for example about a few months ago iI flew into KLIA on a SIA 777.We were the only international arrival at the time and it took me close to an hour to clear the airport-the reason immigration.There area about 15 desks of which only 5 were open and out of these 5,3 were for Malaysians only.So us non-malaysians had to stay in 2 very very long lines while the Malaysians desks were empty.

In fact it does not really matter if the big boys dont come to KLIA.MAS already has a good network and KLIA can become a hub just by utilising MAS alone.The main advantage that MAS has is that its alot cheaper than SIA in SIN.Most of the people I know who live in SIN including myself actually transit via KUL for most of their flights.

User currently offlineRupertvander82 From France, joined Dec 2002, 411 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7838 times:

Ah ha! But SQ is cheaper than MH in Malaysia!

Of course, it can be a pretty busy airport, but where have all the major airlines gone to?

User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7831 times:

Good points raised by G-KIRAN and Mas777 i totally agree.

One thing though, I thought the KLIA Ekspres could be a little bit cheaper and that they should quickly finish the construction of the whole KL Sentral building and allow passengers on other flights ex-KUL to check in at KL CAT just like in HK which is very very convenient!

User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7828 times:

KUL is an important airport even if airlines such as QF, BA, LH and a few other don't fly there. Beside the big domestic traffic within Malaysia it self there are a lot of Asian and long-haul connections. No doubt the Malaysian government is still owner of MAS and as long as people fly into KLIA with MAS iso another airline the government doesn't care at all.

For BA example. When BA axed KUL, MH just took over its slot and increased it's capacity between KUL and LHR. Same goes for other destinations such as FRA. If LH would fly into KUL it would affect MH's market share in FRA. Same goes of course for all other destinations.

No doubt, KLIA tries still to attract more foreign carriers to fly into KLIA (I really like this advertising with the cake). But on most destinations I only would see MAS loosing short- or mid-term market shares.

Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineHkg82 From Hong Kong, joined Apr 2002, 1331 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7808 times:

The authorities at KLIA haven't had much success in luring more airlines to the airport. None of the major airlines that suspended KUL flights a few years ago have returned nor are they likely to return in the foreseeable future. I know I'm sounding negative, but those are the facts. Turkish recently switched from KUL to HKG.

So, what new airlines have started services to KUL since the campaign started? I don't think they're major (or else I would've heard about it), but I think a few smaller regional carriers have begun flights to KUL recently? What’s the latest on Egypt Air’s move to KUL from SIN?


User currently offlineETA Unknown From Comoros, joined Jun 2001, 2299 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7776 times:

Egypt Air never moved from SIN to KUL- they did one better and cancelled the CAI-SIN-SYD service altogether! Now they're going to fly to Beijing instead.

User currently offlineOdiE From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7756 times:

What ETA Unknown said was absolutely true. They had canceled their Singapore and Sydney services. Initially, they were suppose tyo fly CAI-KUL-SYD instead of CAI-SIN-SYD, but they had canceled all flights to Singapore and Sydney.

While major carriers such as Lufthansa, BA and Qantas had suspended their flights into KUL, other carriers had inaugurates their services or increased their services into KUL. Here's what I can remember from the top of my head:

Austrian Airlines: up from 5 weekly to 7 weekly
China Southern: up from 14 weekly to 17 weekly (3 new PEK-KUL-PEK flights)
Air Macau: Inaugurated new twice weekly flights from KUL to MFM
China Xiamen: Inaugurated twice weekly FOC-KUL-FOC flights
Mekong Airways: Inaugurated 4 times weekly PNH-KUL-PNH flights
Korean Air: Doubled their frequency from 2 weekly to 4 weekly
Japan Air: Increases their capacity from MD-11 to B744 on certain days. B777 from Summer 2003.
Sir Lankan Airlines: up from 3 or 4 weekly to 5 weekly
Emirates: up from 4 times weekly to 7 weekly
Qatar Airways: up from 3 times weekly to 6 times weekly and from April 2003, 9 times weekly

Furthermore, Qantas had said that it would like to serve KUL again, either flying there itself or via its subsidary Australian Airlines. There had been a lot of discussions on BA's flight into KUL already and I shall not start the whole thing again. Lufthansa's flight was suspended when SE Asia was not in a economic turmoil, which justify their move. SAS and Finnair also intend to serve KUL in the near future.

Last month, I just got back from KUL. I arrived on SQ 106 (around 11 a.m.) and true enough, the airport was deserted. But when I departed for SIN at 10 a.m. on SQ 103, the airport was buzzing with activities. It was so crowded that I actually need to wait for a seat at Delifrance. I think if you want people moving around in the airport, you are looking between 7 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to midnight. This is probably the same for SIN as well, coz when I landed Singapore on SQ 103, the airport was pretty much deserted as well, with a couple of flights going to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Indoneasia.

Airbus Lover: Malaysia, of all the countries, is prehaps the least strict with their visa policies! Chinese visitors are able to get visas when they land at KUL. Not many countries actually allow Chinese visitors to obtain visa upon arrival. There are probably a few countries that Malaysia require visas for tourist purposes. Look at United States, United Kingdom, some of the EU countries and you will know their visa policies. Australia, need visas for almost any citizen in the world except for Kiwis I think. In fact, by holding a Malaysian passport, you get to visit most countries in Europe including Eastern Europe visa-free.

The thing about downtown check-in at KL Sentral for other airlines, I think other airlines actually need to apply for it. Although MAS is the only carrier that allow downtown check-in, I think SIA, Cathay Pacific and Thai are perhaps thinking of that option as well, offering passengers a convenient downtown check in.

Rupertvander82: Why would BA, QF and LH shift their hub from SIN to KUL when they are already so well established in SIN. It does not make any economical sense. Like Qantas744 said, if it ain't broke, why fix it. What the Malaysian Authorities wanted to do is try to make these airlines fly into KUL again, maybe with a daily flight. They probably realized that it's not economically feasible for these airlines to shift their hub. The same goes for Austrian Airlines. Although SIA and Austrian Airlines is in the Star Alliance, Austrian will not simply shift its hub from KUL to SIN where it's already well established at KUL. Plus, you get a whole lot more of competition at SIN for both SIN-Europe and SIN-Oz.


User currently offlineUALDUDE From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 170 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 7701 times:

One of the biggest problems with KLIA luring new foreign airlines is MH does a lot of price dumping into the market on fares. They sell fares very cheap, too cheap, at times that other airlines cannot compete with and choose not to deal with the headache. That is why MH is constantly fighting for profitability. They don't manage their yield well. Whereas in Singapore, SQ does not do that and they don't try to give away their product. KLIA is an awesome airport. I have been there many times.

User currently offlineOdiE From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1641 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 7692 times:

UALDUDE: The fare-dumping by MAS had been discussed a lot of times. MAS did not fare-dump in Malaysia. The cheapest carrier to fly out of Kuala Lumpur is usually Singapore Airlines. MAS in fact is more often than not the most expensive carrier to fly out of Malaysia. This is because MAS is Malaysia's national carrier and the provide passengers a direct service instead of a one-stop service. If for any reason foreign airlines are saying that MAS is fare dumping in Malaysia, then they might as well quit Singapore as well! MAS is defnitely more expensive in Malaysia than in Singapore.

Take London for example, perhaps Malaysia's most visited city outside Asia. SIA fares ex-KUL will probably be the cheapest followed by BA when they used ot serve KUL. MAS fares is often the most expensive. This applies in Business and First Class as well. Now, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan are probably the carriers that offer one of the cheap option to London.

Ex-UK, MAS, SIA, Thai, Virgin and Cathay have the same fares to Kuala Lumpur. The cheaper option would usually be Qatar Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Sri Lankan and sometimes, to a certain extent, KLM and Austrian.

User currently offlineAviasian From Singapore, joined Jan 2001, 1490 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7667 times:

The issue of fares-dumping . . . more accurately, foreign airlines considering operation to/through KUL complain of "low yield". This does not mean that fares out of KUL are low. Quite the contrary . . . as several Malaysians here have clearly indicated.

Fares on MH to KUL from many source markets in Europe/Australia/US are extremely competitive (not necessary the cheapest but close to), and this is even more so for fares from UK to Australia/NZ and vice versa.

There is nothing wrong with KLIA . . . anyone who has the experience of using it could only come away being impressed by it. I am a Singaporean, and I think it is a fabulous piece of architecture. Its management is doing everything humanely possible to lure foreign airlines - low fees and no fees, financial contribution to airline's marketing efforts etc.

It is a challenge trying to establish a hub between two other hubs (SIN & BKK) that have been hubbing for a much longer time. Connectivity breeds greater connectivity (not just city-pairs but also frequencies) . . . look at the number of city-pair links between Singapore and Indonesia, and between Singapore and Australia where SIA provides 73 weekly services and Qantas provides more than 80 weekly services.

KLIA will make it some day through sheer effort . . . have patience. Agree that visa is not the issue (Malaysia's visa policies are extremely relaxed). KLIA is hosting "new ROUTES asia", the Asian regional event that mirrors ROUTES, the world route development forum that took place in Athens in 2002 and which will be in Edinburgh in 2003. This event brings airports and airlines together.

KC Sim

User currently offlineRupertvander82 From France, joined Dec 2002, 411 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7618 times:

I like KLIA's architecture too, but it simply lacks the pure efficiency and amenities that Singapore Changi has.

It'll be strange it MH fare dumps in KL.

User currently offlineQantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (13 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7589 times:

I don't recall how much KLIA Ekspres cost but we took a cab for about RM20 more for a door to door service, although the folly of our extravagence dawned on us as we got stuck in a traffic jam for half an hour!

SIN was about SGD20 to get to Orchard Rd by cab IIRC and was significantly quicker than getting the MRT.


you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
25 Hkg82 : Yeah, KLIA is a delightful state-of-the-art airport & I found it to be very efficient (probably because it wasn’t very busy when I arrived) but too
26 Mas777 : Hkg82 - the white elephant thing - pls read my post above.
27 Ryanair!!! : With the KLIA Express in operation now, it is so much more convenient. It zips you from the city to the airport and vv in 30 mins. It costs only MYR35
28 Rupertvander82 : I hope the big carriers do come back to KLIA, it'll be great to spot over there. I'm just wondering, if KLIA becomes a bigger hub for airlines, will i
29 Ryanair!!! : At the end of the day, may the best man win. It is all a matter of how well one promotes his assets for the world to acknowledge. Changi Airport, whil
30 Mhz : The airport was built because Subang was overly congested and also because hue and cry from the so called economists and foreign investors that KL has
31 Rupertvander82 : I thought Changi's Terminal 1 looks really shabby! But I think internal construction is ongoing, so it might help to shape up the terminal a little. I
32 OdiE : I totally agree with Ryanair!!! If anybody complaint that KLIA was a white elephant, they probably never been to Subang before. Subang Terminal 1 (the
33 Mas777 : Interestingly there was a short report on Kuala Lumpur Airport in todays Sunday Times along with reports about other good airports to transit in.
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