KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd, which recently announced it will cancel the Kuala Lumpur-Darwin route, is now looking at four other routes which it has placed on its “red list”.
Its chief executive officer Peter Bellew told The New Straits Times that the KL-Darwin route had to be cancelled because the company was “losing a fortune”.
“It’s about flying smart,” he said, adding that the Kl-Darwin route had been losing money over the past 10 years.
He said Malaysia Airlines should only be flying to places where people wanted to go and that there was “absolutely no prospect of making any money in Darwin”.
He added that it was not “fair for Malaysians to be subsidising the holidays of people in Darwin”.
Recently, residents of the Northern Territory, Australia, were reported to have expressed disappointment that Malaysia Airlines planned to stop its service on July 28.
After Darwin, Malaysia Airlines is looking at the possibility of stopping service to four routes. Flights to Australia and New Zealand, in particular, stand to be axed.
However, he did not name the routes.
In contrast, Bellew told the NST Business in Paris, travellers from China spent a lot more in Malaysia, and so it made sense for Malaysia Airlines to focus on China.
The company now has flights between Malaysia and 11 cities in China.
“People from Nanjing spend 10 times more in the duty-free (areas) than those from Darwin. So this is what needs to be done… the opportunity for Malaysia to benefit from more tourists from China is big.
“The Chinese absolutely love travelling to Malaysia… no other country in the world makes them feel more welcomed. And increasing routes to China opens up trade opportunities (for Malaysia) too.”
He said that in the near future, the company would consider flying to China from Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
“There is also Japan, a growing destination for Malaysians,” he told the NST.