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Malaysia Airlines And Kuala Lumpur  
User currently offlineaerokiwi From New Zealand, joined Jul 2000, 3060 posts, RR: 5
Posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5759 times:

I've just spent a fair bit of time travelling SE Asia and to Europe and back (and back again) on Malaysia Airlines for work. I hadn't travelled MH for about 5 years, the last time being a fantastic experience after the misery that was KLM.

Anyway, I was surprised that so little had changed at MH in terms of onboard service and the status of its fleet. And Kuala Lumpur seems to continue to be dominated (as in, 80 per cent plus at a glance) by MH and Air Asia, with comparatively few international carriers, compared to the likes of SIN, BKK and HKG.

I guess I'm posting out of curiosity as to what people (locals in particular) think of MH, right now and where it's heading, and what the future is for KLIA, a seemingly very impressive airport with tons of room for expansion, but under served by foreign carriers.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinespud757 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 373 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5571 times:

KLIA is indeed a very nice airport with as you say room for other carriers. Could the fact that SIN is just down the road in flying terms place two hubs too close to each other.
I find it odd that BA doesn't fly into KUL anymore.
If MH were to join OW or ST alliance then we'd probably see more activity from other carriers.

User currently offlineIndianicWorld From Australia, joined Jun 2001, 3734 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5511 times:

KL is a great airport, but the whole adage that 'If they build it, they will come' really failed in this instance.

Its a great piece of infrastructure, well designed, with great train links, but with so much competition from busier, established and higher yieling destinations/hubs, it was always going to be hard to achieve huge success.

MH has struggled, especially with Air Asia and D7 coming onto the scene, and as KLIA is their part of the airport, there really is a ghost town feel about the place most of the day.

KL's experience is a lesson to many, as those who call for huge, grand new terminals at their airport, really should think twice as to whether it will actually help anyone.

User currently offlineFly2CHC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5441 times:

I think a relevant point to remember however is that while SIN used to have dominance over KUL in the past, things have changed at Changi a bit in the past few years. They have lost carriers such as NZ, GF, MS, KU, UM with all except NZ now/still operating services into KUL. WY and RJ have also chosen KUL ahead of SIN for their Asian expansion.

Even other Gulf carriers such as EY, QR, SV, and EK have more non-stop frequencies into KUL than SIN.

It always surprised me that BA pulled off and never returned to KUL, although I could imagine the yields would have been quite low. Now with Air Asia also ploughing the route it looks even less likely as a productive use of a frame for BA.

KUL also has a good splattering of smaller carriers which SIN doesn't (KC, HY, etc)

User currently offlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2779 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5290 times:

Quoting Fly2CHC (Reply 3):
Even other Gulf carriers such as EY, QR, SV, and EK have more non-stop frequencies into KUL than SIN.

I'm no expert on the current state of play on either KUL or SIN, but it should be noted that large proportion of Malaysia's population is Muslim, while Singapore is far less Muslim. As such Malaysia is relatively friendly for tourists from Islamic countries (judging from the number of Islamic tourists I have seen wandering around there) and probably also has strong business and religious ties with the Gulf states, which may be a factor in the comparative number of flights from Islamic countries to KUL over SIN.

I've flown on a few occasions to both KUL and SIN. As a transit stop, SIN is much easier than KUL, especially for travellers from developed nations. KLIA is quite distant from the centre of Kuala Lumpur. The train is fast and comfortable, but lands you in the rather ugly KL Sentral and taking onwards transport can be inconvenient, especially if catching a taxi in rush hour or needing to catch the monorail (and just forget about the dreadful train service). I guess the light rail lines are alright though. KL's "luxury" hotels may be relatively cheaper than Singapore, but they have a reputation for lower standards of service and cleanliness. My wife grew up around KL and still has family there, but even she finds it difficult and confusing to get around (which can be part of the fun sometimes).

Changi airport is far more convenient. Most areas of Singapore that a tourist might visit are relatively easy to reach with public transport and the traffic generally not too bad if you need to catch a taxi. Things tend to work as expected for tourists from western nations. There are probably more business linkages with western firms in Singapore than in Malaysia. Finally, Changi already had all these flights before KLIA was built and the more connections you have the more attractive you are (a kind of chicken and egg scenario).

Where KLIA is probably beating Changi is as a LCC hub with AirAsia's very large network. Just a pity that the existing LCC terminal at KUL is such a hole.

I like artificial banana essence!
User currently offlineCassi From Hungary, joined Apr 2010, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5268 times:

I am in KL now on a short holiday and will fly back to Europe with QR in a couple of days. The outbound flight through DOH (an A333) was only about 70% full in Y so I could stretch my legs out and sleep a bit.

EK is expected to start a daily A380 service to KUL in early 2011 (and operates 3x daily 773 now), which should stir up things a bit. As we know MH won't get their A380's before 2012. I think the situation is the same as in Europe: legacy carriers like MH are slipping back and slightly losing market share to the ME carriers and LCC's like Air Asia but overall it is a recovery year for most airlines.

User currently offline9MMAR From Malaysia, joined Jul 2006, 2110 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (5 years 9 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4745 times:

Answering your questions rather briefly from the local perspective:

Little change in MH's service - This should be a good thing, isn't it? MH prouds of their inflight service and cabin crew and has won many 'Best Cabin Staff' awards than any other airlines including archrival Singapore Airline.

Little change in MH's fleet - MH has 56 aircrafts on firm order; 35 B738s, 15 A333s and 6 A380s (+ 2 A332Fs) which will be arriving by October 2010. So yeah, the current old aircrafts should be phased out gradually. Things are looking good as MH has leaked that 20 of the new B738s will be equipped with PTV in all classes and they will be a new First, Business and Premium Economy Class on the A380. The new cabin should be introduced on the new A333s as well.

KLIA dominated by MH and AK - Being Malaysian airlines, this scenario is just natural. MAHB, the airport operator has proven that they are very customer hungry by throwing an imaginably generous incentives for airlines operating in KLIA but the take up rate is still quite low. They can't force airlines to serve the airport. In my opinion, the main reason on why this situation occurs is because MH is not part of a global alliance unlike TG in BKK and SQ in SIN, thus KUL is less attractive as far as business/premium traffic is concerned. But things are not that bad either. In 2009, KUL handled close to 30 million passengers, just 7 million passengers behind SIN. Thanks to AirAsia, it is worth noting that 45% of this number is contributed by the LCCT. There is a new LCCT under construction in KUL with capacity of 30 million annual passengers. It is so huge, the building will be as big as KUL Main Terminal Building itself. Targeted completion date in April 2012.

What locals think of MH - Personally I think being a state own airline, MH will stay in the business for a very long time. Having AirAsia in the same stable is helping MH a lot in getting their acts together as you know, state owned airlines tend to operate like a government agency - slow and sloppy. Without AirAsia, MH could possibly still be issuing paper tickets until today. Pressures from AirAsia too have lead to the establishment of FireFly, which will soon operate MH's old B734 jets and competing in regional routes out of KUL and SZB along with MH and AirAsia. With its impressive list of new aircrafts, MH has a great chance in winning back customers that it had lost all these years provided that their new yet-to-be-unveiled product is ahead or at least on par with the current world's best. As a Malaysian, I can only hope for the best and pray that MH does not choose a 'me-too' or worse, a generation behind the current world's best product. The constant comparison with SQ will still be made as both airlines came from the same root (Malayan Airways) but one flourished to be a world champion but the other succumb due to so many extra luggages it has to carry along.

What local think of KLIA - I think KLIA is going to do well. Should be reaching 33 million passengers by the end of 2010. AirAsia is going great, the new LCCT will be a cash generating machine and LCC market will be the drive for KLIA. I think if MH, AK and MAHB can continue growing (passengers number while at the same time rake in respectable profits), then I guess there shouldn't be any worries even though foreign airlines are shying away from KUL. It is their lost for missing us out on their radar.

If you are interested with Malaysian aviation scene, go to www.malaysianwings.net/forum That's where the actual truth is being revealed.

User currently offlinekaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 13264 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (5 years 9 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4204 times:

Quoting IndianicWorld (Reply 2):
KL's experience is a lesson to many, as those who call for huge, grand new terminals at their airport, really should think twice as to whether it will actually help anyone.

The airport now handles (2009 figure) 29m passengers, 584,000t of freight and 225,000 movements a year, so it's hardly a white elephant. One would think, reading some posts above, that KUL is a ghost town! SIN handles 37m pax, 1.4m tons of freight and 240,000 movements, so while SIN is obviously busier on all three counts, it's hardly a complete walkover! And 9MMAR's figure of 33m for 2010 isn't such a huge jump, although I wonder if most of this growth comes from Air Asia (and Air Asia X) rather than MH.

Can you imagine the old Subang Airport handling these numbers? The movement figure alone would have been too much for a single runway airport and I can't imagine that the old airport's facilities would have been able to contend with the numbers above. Yes, KUL may be overshadowed to some extent by SIN, but the traffic figures it has achieved are nothing to be embarrassed about.

I flew to KUL in 2001 and it was already a well established and very impressive airport then; since 2001, of course, it has a rail link to the city (well worth a visit). In Europe, we see a lot of ads for Malaysian tourism and it is clear that the country is very well advertised, which is good to see.

While I acknowledge that MH consistently wins "best cabin crew", which is no mean achievement given its regional competitors, I think that could probably do with having its image freshened a bit; hopefully the arrival of the A380s and new A330s will see a new corporate image being introduced; the current one has become quite tired.

User currently offlineaviasian From Singapore, joined Jan 2001, 1490 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (5 years 9 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4153 times:

Indeed, Kuala Lumpur International Airport is a beautiful facility and has plenty of room to grow. Although at first glance, there seems to be a lack of variety in international airlines serving it, there actually are a good number of airlines that serve KUL but not SIN. Each of these two destinations has its strength in different markets.

KUL's position stems also from being positioned between two existing and perhaps more established hubs - BKK and SIN. It also does not help that Malaysia Airlines is not a member in any alliance.

As for the change in corporate image, it is long long overdue. And when that happens, I sure hope that it is one that is professionally done and not something which comes out of any internal departmental contest or other exercise.

KC Sim

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