Malaysia – the land of opportunity for Qantas?

It’s no surprise that events of recent months have affected Malaysia Airlines badly. The run of bad luck or misfortune has seen passenger loads drop significantly and deep discounting on many routes, including traffic to Australia. With heavy competition from low cost competitor Air Asia, some of our members feel the One World Airline could benefit from some local help.

Is there an opportunity for QF to run a daily A330 to Kuala Lumpur? Onwards connections a problem (either getting agreement from Malaysia or convincing Qatas pax to fly SriLankan) but longer term a flight to a Oneworld hub (like DFW, SCL, LHR etc) may prove worthwhile and now may be an opportune time to start (return!) to KUL.

Kuala Lumpur has not been a happy hunting ground for Australian airlines in the past. Qantas was a regular visitor to Kuala Lumpur in the past but stopped flights during the global financial crisis. In the last part of the twentieth century, Ansett also operated flights for a limited time. It too found it hard to make money and withdrew. Even Jetstar has struggled with services to Australia. They now operate just a couple of flights a day to nearby Singapore, under the Jetstar Asia partnership, a short 1 hour hop.

Maybe it’s time to resurrect Red Q, based in Kuala Lumpur using the idle Jetstar Hong Kong and Japan A320s, linked to Dubai on one end and Perth on the other

Qantas could well be mulling over the concept of Red Q, an Asian based premium airline yet again. While agreement could not be established with Malaysia in the past, events occurring next year may make the decision a lot easier. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has for the past ten years been preparing for an open skies policy for the region in 2015. With the barrier of traffic rights removed for a Malaysian based airline, a new premium carrier could well find a niche in a market dominated by low cost carriers.

As far as established premium carriers go, there is one that does seem to be making Kuala Lumpur work from Australia. That airline is Emirates. Despite its horrendous departure times, the services from Melbourne have been popular. Although some feel that success is more due to it being an alternative to the direct Dubai flights also on offer.

I think that the Emirates Melbourne-Singapore-Dubai (or Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur-Dubai) flight works because it breaks up the very lengthy Melbourne-Dubai leg. My parents and sister have taken this flight a few times and the stop at SIN makes it three rather bearable 7 hour flights rather than doing 14+ hours non stop in economy, something that causes palpitations for me just by typing it out.

Do you think there is an opportunity for Qantas to return to Malaysia, why not have your say HERE.

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