G-KIRAN
Topic Author
Posts: 710
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2000 1:55 am

What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:54 am

I have just finalised by booking from Singapore to Perth return on MAS. Apparently MAS have cut thier flights from SIN-KUL from around 10 odd daily to 5, while using the A330 instead of the 737. This makes for some really annoying schedules. My flight from KUL to PER leaves ar 0955, previously I could take the 0745 shuttle from SIN to KUL; instead now I have to depart SIN at 0650 on MH602 and hang about KLIA for 2 hours.

For my return flight to SIN from PER, I initially opted for the late afternoon/ evening departure which is flown by the 777, however it involves either making a dash for my connecting flight from KUL to SIN which leaves some 15 minutes after I land in KUL or waiting some 10 hours overnight for the first morning flight out. Once again previously I could have caught the 2320 flight out from KUL to SIN. No problem I say to the travel agent, book me on the morning flight from Perth to KUL instead. No problem indeed. The morning leaves at 0720 and goes via KCH and is operated by an A330-300. It arrives in KUL at 1510 after close to 8 hours on the wing and my connecting flight departs for SIN at 1920-4 HOURS LATER!!. There is a flight at 1540 but I doubt my baggage will make it, however I will try to see if I can get on that flight.To compensate for this I booked a room at the transit hotel, the cost of whcih add another S$60 on to my bill. The price of my MAS ticket was S$680 including tax, while SIA was around S$850. Add onto that the extra S$60 I have to pay for the transit hotel then you can see where I am coming from.

Can someone please tell me what on earth the MAS management is thinking? How are they going to compete with SIA when it schedules flights some 4 hours apart from one another?Oh and yes a trip report will be written after I get back. For those interested my itinerary is as below:

MON 23 FEB MH602 SIN-KUL 0650-0745 Y 737-400
MH125 KUL-PER 0955-1515 Y 777-200

MON 01 MAR MH126 PER-KCH-KUL 0720-1510 Y A330-300
MH607 KUL-SIN 1920-2015 Y A330-300
 
MAS777
Posts: 2757
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 7:40 am

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:18 am

..."Can someone please tell me what on earth the MAS management is thinking? How are they going to compete with SIA when it schedules flights some 4 hours apart from one another?..."

As I mentioned before there was nothing wrong with their 737s and their frequent scheduling but MAS management finally backed down and succumbed to the annoying complaints from most of its passengers (incl. some of those who used to complain of the same thing on this very forum) that their 737s offered an inferior product with respect to SQ's widebodies - so they stuck in the A330s on the route and with that the scheduling also got reduced to match SQ's.

So - in fact MAS has responded to its complaints and frankly - they should have stuck with their 737/A330 mix which offered far greater connectivity and convenience!
 
Airbus Lover
Posts: 3163
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2000 10:29 pm

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:41 am

What to say umm... They cut frequencies because of the introduction of bigger aircraft to compete with SQ. I'd much prefer them using B737s and have 10 flights a day!
 
Ejazz
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed May 22, 2002 10:26 am

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:05 am

Both SQ and MH dramatically cut back the frequencies on the SIN KUL shuttle during SARS and even now both Airlines frequencies are not back to pre-SARS levels. As demand increases I'm sure the cancelled services will return but until that time some travellers will be inconvenienced.

Yesterday morning MH used the B737 on its early morning shuttle flight.
Etihad Girl, You're a great way to fly.
 
Joule
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 11:09 pm

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:32 am

Hmm...don't really know what to say except that the schedules were not catered for somebody travelling SIN-PER via KUL. You might get bored on the return sector PER-KCH-KUL (no PTVs on the A330-300) especially after flying the 772 KUL-PER.

As Mas777 mentioned, the change from 734s to 330s was a large part in response to pax preferences. Somehow the paxs just got too comfortable travelling on widebodies (even on 50 min sectors) and naturally comparisons were made about aircraft types of both airlines.

In terms of total MH pax capacity for KUL-SIN-KUL, it hasn't changed significantly, as the bigger 330 easily carries twice the number of pax compared to the 734, but comes at the expense of flight frequencies which have been halved. Now the regular schedule will be something like 4x 330s and 1x 734 (some changes are also made on short notice based on demand).

So the 330s are here to stay for the KUL-SIN sectors (with the addition of more 330s to the fleet) and the 734s being redeployed to the new destinations in Indonesia.

Hopefully the demand will grow further and more flights mounted in the future.

 
tsentsan
Posts: 1921
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 10:48 pm

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:03 pm

Just a side note, you could have alternatively booked QF SIN/PER/SIN for $488 return... booked it for my parents to travel next week, total cost per pax was SGD$601... quite cheap yah.

Also another note, perhaps you could try asking the TA if you could depart from JHB (Senai), and take the MH shuttle from Copthorne Orchid to Senai?
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jeffrysky
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:56 pm

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:28 pm

G-KIRAN : the shuttle service is actually a joint operation between SQ and MH, so to be fair it's not MAS management at fault in anyway. For the shuttle service, the SQ and MH flights are meant to complement each other in terms of timing , so of course if you were to look at just the list of SIN-KUL-SIN flights of each individual airline, you would notice very huge gaps especially in the noon-afternoon period. Of course, i realise that even with two airlines operating the shuttle service, the desired frequency is far far from its original "turn up and fly" concept.

Mas777 is definitely right when he says that pax weren't happy with flying B737s for the same price of SIA's B777s. I have seen customers actually demanding to fly SQ at the shuttle counter, which of course the counter staff had their hands tied since it was a joint service.

Well what can i say, but gone are the glorious days of the SIN-KUL-SIN shuttle. during the chinese new year or qing ming ( all souls' day for the chinese ), the shuttle counters in Subang Airport were packed to the brim, and there were flights every 30 mins. SIA had to resort to flying in Megatops and MAS , the occasional DC-10s to cater to the immense demand.

However, with the new North-South highway and the convenience of taking equally comfortable express buses down to KUL from SIN, many price-conscious pax have switched to alternative modes of transport. A shuttle ticket is extremely expensive when you consider it's 40 mins with orange juice -- thanks to the duopoly, a ticket to KUL costs S$150+ and the return segment costs about S$100+ inclusive of taxes = S$250. For that price, you can easily get a ticket to BKK from SIN : a much longer flight with a full meal service -- thanks to the competitiveness of the route with many foreign carriers exercising their fifth freedom rights on it.

for me, i usually take Japan Airlines' daily service between SIN and KUL. that's the cheapest route to KUL at the moment. Of course, Air India and Sri Lankan operate SIN-KUL too , but their frequencies aren't desirable. JAL's flight out KUL to SIN is the last flight of the day, leaving 15 mins after the last MH flight to SIN , at the time of 2245. SQ's last flight to SIN leaves at 2145.
This was never the case last time as G-KIRAN pointed out : there were flights as late as midnight.

it's kinda ironic when SIN is much better connected to BKK, than it is to its historically closer neighbour, KUL. operating to KUL non-stop was unprofitable for some airlines, so they used to stop at SIN to pick up pax last time in the good old days of subang : QF , NZ ( not sure abt this ) , CI , BR ..

well the SIN-KUL traffic rights have been used up, thus the SIN-KUL route is quite untouchable to LCCs , most unfortunately. Hopefully some local LCCs can wrestle for some share of the SIN-KUL market in time to come.
 
odie
Posts: 1581
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2001 8:55 am

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 6:51 am

Is there any chance that they will end their shuttle route agreement? I mean, 11 flights a day (between the 2 airlines) is hardly any shuttle service. Plus both carriers scheduled their flights in such a way that it favors connecting traffic rather than O&D traffic (if there is still a demand for it).
 
MAS777
Posts: 2757
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 7:40 am

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:16 pm

The shuttle agreeement for this route is quite unique - if I remember correctly, it was one of the first in the world (or certainly region anyway) and is not entirely as straight forward as many 'Shuttle' routes elsewhere.

The agreement is not a purely commercial agreement but it also carries political, social and economic weight. Following the split of MSA - the two airlines vowed to work together on the KL-SIN route. Politically and socially, this is an important bridge and symbol of Malaysian-Singapore relations. Much has changed since 'Pak Lah's' momentous visit to Singapore and Goh Chok Tong's reciprocal visit to Johore earlier this year, but there are still many contentious issues. Throwing in the 'ending of KL-Singapore Shuttle Flights' could potentially be disastrous politically to both countries.

Economically, I think you would find that both MAS and SIA operate the Shuttle service at pretty much a lost since although the route is short and a high-density one - the fares are fixed by the two airlines under the watchful eye of their governments...

Bring back the Baby Boeing (or even perhaps a new replacement Baby Airbus) I say...
 
jeffrysky
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:56 pm

RE: What Happened To The MAS SIN-KUL-SIN Shuttle?

Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:32 am

Throwing in the 'ending of KL-Singapore Shuttle Flights' could potentially be disastrous politically to both countries.
exactly !! don't even think of it happening ...

SQ/MH have reacted to the reduction in shuttle demand, simply by reducing the amount of seats blocked for shuttle passengers and hence offering more seats for pax on regular booked flights, mostly connecting pax. i don't know whether this violates any agreement they have, in which they must reserve a certain block of seats for shuttle pax , but this has certainly been happening. i dare say majority of pax onboard the SIN-KUL-SIN flights are connecting passengers. SQ fares booked from KUL are so much more affordable anyway ...

yeap odie has pointed out : the SIN-KUL-SIN flights are more to suit the needs of connecting passengers onto SQ and MH flights from the two cities. hence the present frequencies are adequate for this, albeit no longer as a real "turn up and fly" shuttle service.