Malaysia Airlines announced today that they will be discontinuing their service to Los Angeles as of April 30, 2014:
“The factors contributing to this negative situation today include over capacity and competition resulting in lower yields, high cost of operating the B777 aircraft, and pressure from continued increases in fuel costs. These are adding further pressure to the expenses of Malaysia Airlines group, which we are continuously evaluating,” he said.
MAS said it would focus on Asia where the demand outlook is strong, fuelled by a growing middle class and increased global and intra-regional trade.
I can’t say I’m surprised. I would guess the issue isn’t really over capacity or the operating cost, per se, but the fact that Malaysia had a totally uncompetitive product and I assume that contributed to horrible premium cabin yields.
It’s one thing if they were the only airline flying nonstop between Kuala Lumpur and the US, though their service was one-stop as it is, with a stop at Tokyo Narita. Previously it stopped in Taipei, though in 2012 they began routing it through Tokyo Narita instead, which I assume made the route at least in theory a bit more sustainable (since the longhaul flight became ~1,500 miles shorter, meaning they didn’t have to sacrifice cargo for fuel as much).
So while it was the same aircraft the whole way through, the actual travel time wasn’t really any shorter than flying Cathay Pacific, for example, which offers a fully flat business class product with reverse herringbone seats.
Award space on the route was generally good, as they usually released two business class seats every day the flight is operated, so in a way I’m sad to see the route disappear.
While Malaysia’s A380s are quite nice, unfortunately the only longhaul destinations they fly them to are London and Paris.
Oh well. Can’t win if you don’t (really) try, Malaysia Airlines…
(Tip of the hat to David)