Malaysia

The Search For MH370 Has Officially Been Suspended

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It’s amazing to think that MH370 disappeared almost three years ago. The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-200 with 239 people onboard, and was bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane disappeared from radar shortly after leaving Malaysian airspace, and the rest is a mystery.

Well, in the meantime Chinese, Australian, and Malaysian authorities have worked together to search 120,000 square kilometers, and their search has come up mostly empty. So they’ve now called off the underwater search for MH370. Per the joint statement:

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Malaysia Airlines Has A Creative Plan For Their A380s

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For quite a while now, Malaysia Airlines has been trying to get rid of their A380s. The airline has six A380s, though only really needs them for their London Heathrow route, which doesn’t require all six of them.

Despite their best offers, unfortunately they haven’t found an interested party to buy or lease the plane. While the A380 has worked out extremely well for Emirates, otherwise the plane has been a bust, as airlines would much rather buy fuel efficient lower capacity planes, like the 787 or A350.

So without some creativity, Malaysia Airlines basically has the option between flying the planes at a loss, or parking them in the desert or at Kuala Lumpur Airport; none of those options is ideal.

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Malaysia Airlines Has 99 Problems… This Isn’t One Of Them

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I was Tweeted a link by @brandconsultant, who wrote a story entitled “A negative brand experience with Malaysia Airlines can be a lesson for all brands.” The author is a British ex-pat based in Kuala Lumpur, and a brand consultant and author. So I have a lot of respect for what he says, since without a doubt he knows more about branding than I do.

He Tweeted me a link to a story about his experience with Malaysia Airlines, where he suggests that Malaysia Airlines not serving him a cup of coffee was the final straw that might cost the airline 600,000USD+ in revenue.

Malaysia Airlines had already been in a horrible financial situation before 2014, and that was made significantly worse after they lost two 777s just months apart. For the most part the airline has been headed in the right direction. They appointed Christoph Mueller (probably the airline industry’s best crisis leader) as CEO, though unfortunately he has already resigned and went to work for Emirates.

So as much as some aspects of the airline have improved, there are other aspects that make me shake my head. For example, if Malaysia Airlines wants to attract customers, why are they eliminating alcohol in business class on many intra-Asia flights, why are they devaluing their frequent flyer program (more than once!), and why did someone give the green light for the airline to bring back a 747 that they never ended up actually using?

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Malaysia Airlines Deactivates Their Reactivated Deactivated 747

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As I first wrote about in March, a few months back struggling Malaysia Airlines brought a 747-400 back into service. Malaysia Airlines used to have a fleet of Boeing 747s, which they retired in 2012. This coincided with the airline taking delivery of their six Airbus A380 aircraft, which they used primarily for their London and Paris routes.

Following the terrible tragedies of MH370 and MH17, Malaysia Airlines has been forced to restructure and downsize, and as part of that they’ve retired their entire 777 fleet.

That means the only plane which Malaysia Airlines can still operate to many points in Europe is the A380. As of now, Malaysia Airlines just operates their A380s on their two daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow (I’ve reviewed the route in first class from both London to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to London).

Over the summer these planes started going through maintenance checks, and someone at Malaysia decided it would make sense to bring back a single 747-400, in case they needed a spare plane.

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Has The Mystery Of MH370 Finally Been Solved?

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The greatest mystery in modern aviation has been that of MH370, where in March of 2014 a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 disappeared shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur, while enroute to Beijing. With modern technology I find it amazing that a 777 could go missing without a trace, despite an international investigation.

There have been lots of theories as to what happened, ranging from believable and well researched theories, all the way to conspiracy theories. Some believe there was a catastrophic fire on the plane. Some believe the plane lost cabin pressure and just kept flying until it ran out of fuel. Some believe it was abducted by aliens. Some believe it was hijacked by the Russians.

But as the story of the missing plane began to unfold, more and more questions arose regarding the captain, to the point that the prevailing MH370 theory is that the captain intentionally crashed the plane.

Well, it looks like that theory is now more or less officially confirmed, as authorities have revealed that the captain had flown a similar route deep into the South Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane went missing.

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Malaysia Airlines Makes A Mindless Devaluation To Their Frequent Flyer Program

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Early in 2015, Malaysia Airlines made some very negative changes to their Enrich frequent flyer program, where they devalued it on both the earning and redemption side. While frequent flyer programs get devalued over time, I really couldn’t wrap my head around Malaysia Airlines devaluing, given their situation.

You’d think they would do anything they can to retain loyal flyers, rather than giving them fewer benefits when they’re already struggling to get people on the airline. It’s one thing if Malaysia’s Enrich program were the most rewarding program out there, but it was subpar before the changes, so making it even worse just seems like a bad idea.

Now Malaysia Airlines has made another devaluation, which they’ve buried in their July newsletter to members (best I can tell they haven’t published it elsewhere):

“Greater redemption rewards are coming your way exclusively as an Enrich member! Effective 1 August 2016, our 15% online redemption will no longer be applicable as we have bigger and better rewards especially in store for you. Stay tuned for an even greater and enriching travel and lifestyle experience.”

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Malaysia Airlines Appoints New CEO; Old CEO Quits Effective Immediately

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Malaysia Airlines has obviously had a really tough few years. They were already struggling financially, though that was made exponentially worse when two of their 777s crashed just months apart.

The smartest thing the airline did to try and improve their situation was hire Christoph Mueller as their CEO, who is known as one of the industry’s best “crisis CEOs.” He turned around Aer Lingus, and had a three year contract at Malaysia Airlines, where he started as CEO on May 1, 2015.

He has made radical changes to the airline, including huge layoffs, transferring all assets to a new company, retiring the entire 777 fleet, installing a new longhaul business class product, entering into a partnership with Emirates for longhaul flying, going dry on shorthaul flights, and much more.

However, in April it was announced that Christoph Mueller would be leaving Malaysia Airlines before his contract expired due to “personal reasons.” He was supposed to leave in September, which would be about halfway through his contract. However, just a few days ago we found out what Christoph Mueller will be doing after Malaysia — Mueller will work for Emirates, as their chief transformation officer.

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Malaysia Airlines’ CEO To Work For Emirates

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While there are plenty of struggling airlines, the one I probably feel worst for is Malaysia Airlines. The airline had already been losing money for years, and then they lost two Boeing 777 aircraft just months apart, which is just about an unprecedented tragedy.

Probably the smartest thing the airline did in a while is hire Christoph Mueller as their CEO, who is known as one of the industry’s best “crisis CEOs.” He turned around Aer Lingus, and had a three year contract at Malaysia Airlines, where he started as CEO on May 1, 2015.

He has made radical changes to the airline, including huge layoffs, transferring all assets to a new company, retiring the entire 777 fleet, installing a new longhaul business class product, entering into a partnership with Emirates for longhaul flying, going dry on shorthaul flights, and much more.

Ultimately the changes are working, because Malaysia turned their first monthly profit in years this February, and is still hoping to be profitable by 2018.

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Malaysia Airlines Is (Finally) Refreshing Their Airport Lounges

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In addition to cutting costs through layoffs, retiring planes, and greatly scaling back their route network, Malaysia Airlines is also trying to refresh their product so that they can actually be competitive.

Last November Malaysia Airlines announced that they’d introduce a new fully flat business class product on their A330s, which is now available on select routes.

That’s good news if they want to improve premium yields, since their old angled product just doesn’t cut it when the competition is mostly offering fully flat beds with direct aisle access.

Fortunately it looks like Malaysia Airlines will be upgrading their premium ground experience as well, as they’re refreshing their lounges at Kuala Lumpur Airport and London Heathrow Airport.

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This Can’t Be Good: Malaysia Airlines’ CEO Resigns

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While there are plenty of struggling airlines, the one I probably feel worst for is Malaysia Airlines. The airline had already been losing money for years, and then they lost two Boeing 777 aircraft just months apart, which is just about an unprecedented tragedy.

Probably the smartest thing the airline did in a while is hire Christoph Mueller as their CEO, who is known as one of the industry’s best “crisis CEOs.” He turned around Aer Lingus, and had a three year contract at Malaysia Airlines, where he started as CEO on May 1, 2015.

He has made radical changes to the airline, including huge layoffs, transferring all assets to a new company, retiring the entire 777 fleet, installing a new longhaul business class product, entering into a partnership with Emirates for longhaul flying, going dry on shorthaul flights, and much more.

Ultimately the changes are working, because Malaysia turned their first monthly profit in years this February, and is still hoping to be profitable by 2018.

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Malaysia Airlines’ Puzzling Revived 747 Is Back In Service!

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As I first wrote about in March, struggling Malaysia Airlines is countering the industry trend by taking a 747 out of retirement and putting it back into service.

Malaysia Airlines used to have a fleet of Boeing 747s, which they retired in 2012. This coincided with the airline taking delivery of their six Airbus A380 aircraft, which they used primarily for their London and Paris routes.

Following the terrible tragedies of MH370 and MH17, Malaysia Airlines has been forced to restructure and downsize, and as part of that they’ve retired their entire 777 fleet.

That means the only plane which Malaysia Airlines can still operate to many points in Europe is the A380. As of now, Malaysia Airlines just operates their A380s on their two daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow (I’ve reviewed the route in first class from both London to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to London).

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Malaysia Airlines Turned Their First Monthly Profit In Years

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Malaysia Airlines probably ranks at the very top of the list of airlines I feel bad for. They were mismanaged for years, and then faced two incredibly unfortunate tragedies when they had two 777s crash just months apart.

While they were already losing hundreds of millions of dollars before their two crashes, that only sent them into a further downward spiral, given the perception people have of the airline (to this day I see people comment “you’re brave” when someone posts a picture of them taking a Malaysia flight).

On the plus side the government finally realized that the losses weren’t sustainable, and that their old leadership team was corrupt and only doing more to run the airline into the ground.

So Malaysia Airlines hired Christoph Mueller, known as one of the most effective crisis CEOs in the industry. He turned around Aer Lingus, which is now once again profitable, and is hoping to do the same at Malaysia Airlines.

He made the tough decisions the previous management team wasn’t willing to make, including huge layoffs and retiring a large part of their fleet, including all of their 777s.

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You Can Now Redeem Malaysia Miles On Emirates

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In December I wrote about the new partnership between Malaysia Airlines and Emirates, which seemed like a great opportunity for Malaysia Airlines. Due to their financial situation Malaysia Airlines has greatly shrunk (including retiring all of their 777s), meaning they have limited ability to carry passengers on longhaul flights.

Under this partnership, Malaysia is codesharing on many Emirates flights to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. At this point Malaysia is more of a regional carrier, so the idea is that they’d carry passengers to Kuala Lumpur from smaller cities within Asian, and then Emirates would carry the passengers from there.

At the time Malaysia hadn’t yet released the mileage earning and redemption rates for travel on Emirates. That has finally changed.

Malaysia Airlines Enrich members can now earn and redeem miles for travel on Emirates.

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Malaysia Airlines Is Bringing Back The 747!

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While there are many things I love about the A380, the 747 will always be the queen of the skies, in my opinion.

The 747 signified a quantum leap for aviation, as it opened up new possibilities. It’s amazing to think that Boeing went from the 707 straight to the 747.

Unfortunately the 747 isn’t the most fuel efficient plane out there anymore, and we’ve seen airlines progressively retire them over the past several years.

Malaysia Airlines used to have a fleet of Boeing 747s, which they retired in 2012. This coincided with the airline taking delivery of their six Airbus A380 aircraft, which they used primarily for their London and Paris routes.

Following the terrible tragedies of MH370 and MH17, Malaysia Airlines has been forced to restructure and downsize, and as part of that they’ve retired their entire 777 fleet.

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