By Andy Sambidge
Asian carrier's CEO says decision is part of significant route cost-cutting exercise
Malaysia Airlines has said it will axe a number of flights to the Middle East as part of a significant route rationalisation exercise.
The move aims to stem its losses anticipated this year and in 2012, the carrier said in a statement.
The changes take effect early next year and involves the withdrawal from the following loss-making routes:
From January 10, the airline's thrice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Dubai A330 route will be stopped followed by the twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Karachi – Dubai route two days later.
From January 13, the twice-weekly Kuala Lumpur – Dubai – Dammam A330 route will be axed, the airline added.
Malaysia Airlines’ Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said: “The withdrawal was based on our own independent internal profitability and yield analysis.
"This accounts for almost 12 percent of our passenger capacity and we estimate that the ongoing route rationalisation will improve loads, increase yields and have a profit impact of RM220-302m ($69-94.7m) for 2012.”
“The above route rationalisation is expected to have minimal impact on Malaysia's position as a top tourist destination in Asia as we will work aggressively with our code share partners."
Malaysia Airlines said it regrets any inconvenience to passengers as a result of these changes.
It added that the impact of the rationalisation on Malaysia Airlines’ cargo operations is expected to be minimal.
Malaysia Airlines said it will focus on the core ASEAN region, South Asia, Greater China and North Asia where the demand outlook is strong, "fuelled by a burgeoning middle class and increased global and intra-regional trade".