Malaysia Airlines Retiring Their Cursed 777s

The Boeing 777 has been one of the most reliable aircraft of the past couple of decades, and has really shaped many airlines’ route networks. Routes which weren’t previously feasible on the 747 (either due to demand or distance) became feasible with the 777.

While the 777 has proven a huge success for most airlines, unfortunately Malaysia Airlines might not agree, as they lost two 777s just months apart last year. It’s extremely rare for commercial aircraft to crash, let alone two identical aircraft of a small fleet. While the accidents weren’t the plane’s fault, that doesn’t change how insanely unlucky Malaysia Airlines has been with the 777.

Malaysia-772

Following the events of last year, Malaysia has been on the path to recovery, and is under new leadership. They’re hugely shrinking the airline with tons of layoffs and also retiring quite a few planes. They’re cutting routes like crazy, and realize that if they stand a chance at survival they need to emerge a much smaller airline.

Malaysia-777

Malaysia Airlines will tentatively be retiring their 777s as of March 2016. Via airlineroute.net, it looks like Malaysia’s last 777 flight is scheduled for March 26, 2016, between Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou. That 777 flight will operate with the following schedule:

MH376 Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou departing 9:30AM arriving 1:35PM
MH377 Guangzhou to Kuala Lumpur departing 2:40PM arriving 6:45PM

As of March 27, 2016, the flight will be operated by a Boeing 737-800 — that’s quite a downgrade!

Malaysia-Business-Class-737 - 17

As you might expect, award space is wide open on the flight, with two business class and seven economy class award seats available in both directions (which is typically the most space you’ll see from Malaysia Airlines):

Malaysia-777-1 Malaysia-777-2

Usually I find it quite sad when airlines retire planes. Heck, I almost cry every time I watch the Singapore Airlines 747 retirement video.

But in this case I think it’s a good thing for Malaysia Airlines. Hopefully it’s the continuation of a new chapter for the airline, and will sort of give the airline more of a “clean slate.”

I have to imagine a lot of employees still have a lot of hurt and negative feelings associated with the 777. Hopefully that will go away a bit more as the planes are retired.

Bottom line

Once the 777s are retired, Malaysia’s fleet will primarily consist of 737s and A330s. They still have a couple of A380s which they fly to London, though at the latest those will be sold off once they get the A350s, which they’ll instead fly to London. Malaysia Airlines is shrinking fast, and hopefully it’s for the better, as the airline gets some new life.

Malaysia-A380

I have to imagine the last Malaysia 777 flight will be emotional for many people… for a variety of reasons.

Are you sad to see the Malaysia 777s retired, or do you think it’ll help them with their fresh start?

Comments

  1. So that’s why they’re cutting routes to Paris and Amsterdam, thought they would’ve kept the 777s around until the A350s come. So what’s the point of the orders now then? Restart those routes when the A350s come?

  2. How long do you think they will keep operating the A380 to LHR? Would love to try it in 2016 before it’s sold / taken off the route.

  3. @W

    Lucky wrote about MH upgrading their J on A330 back in November, my guess would be that some shorter A330 routes will be cut/ taken over by the B737. And the freed up A330 put on some of the former B777 routes.

    As to why they are keeping the A330 rather than the B777?
    From Airbus.com
    Airlines and pilots will both benefit from the Common Type Rating pilot training on the A350 XWB and A330 jetliners.

    Basically a A330 pilot have the rather type rating to fly A350 leading a much smother transition, pluss making mixed fleet ops with a common pilot pool possible.

  4. I’m glad MH is continuing its refresh. I would have thought they’d sell those 777s since there would be a market for them. Either way, I wish MH the best on rebranding itself and hopefully it can compete as a regional airline against Air Asia.

  5. Needless to say A350XWB is a good alternative to 777-200ER in terms of distance and the capacity. The only concern is that when will them be sent to KUL, since most of the 777s currently support the route between KUL and Europe

  6. flew on their A380 from London to Kuala Lumpur in business — I liked it a lot! The entertainment system wasn’t great but I liked the seat and the service. It’s a great airline, and a shame what happened to them.

  7. What a terrible title for the post. Awful.

    In any case, good riddance to the 777 and their awful middle seat in business class; they will not be missed.

  8. Another contributing factor probably was fleet age. Their 330 subfleet has an average age of 3.5y, the 777 subfleet 15.3y, with the oldest bird approaching 18y. The T7 could probably have gone a few more years before exhausting their cycles – that’s not what you are aiming for in a turn around situation.

  9. At the end of the day it does not help no matter which equipment you operate if your staff is unhappy. This will result in cranky and dismissive attitude towards the passengers. Those who still do fly with MAS are the Best Friends of the cabin crew because without them there will soon be no MAS.

    Now add to this the incomprehensible decision to stop serving alcohol even in Business Class on flights less than 3 hrs and one has to wonder how much control does Herr Müller really have over MAS.

    I already feel it is mighty insensitive and inconsiderate to force a Moslem prayer down everyones throat in their safety video. It’s almost like some influential people in Malaysia think it’s an island and people have no choice. Well, guess what, if there ever was an international business then an airline would be at the very top of that list.

    Keep turning it into a bastion of religious intolerance and see how long you can keep it afloat. Whether you do this on a B738, A380, A333 or A350 will not make one iota of difference.

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