Qantas has no plans to resume flights to Kuala Lumpur

7 June 2002

Qantas has no plans in the near future to resume its flights to Kuala Lumpur despite its move to reinstate flights to most of its major inbound market and increase capacity to Singapore and Europe (, May 28)

Qantas executive general manager sales and marketing, John Borghetti, said this in response to TravelWeekly's question as to whether Kuala Lumpur is in its list of cities for resumption of flights.

Qantas suspended its flights to Kuala Lumpur in 1999 on grounds that it was not viable economically to continue with its flights due to poor passenger load.

Even the latest carrot offered by the Malaysia government for airlines to use the KL International Airport as its hub - the waiver of parking and landing fees for five years - would not persuade Qantas to reconsider its decision.

Said Borghetti, "You pick an airport that made sense from the economic and customer's point of view. It must be feasible for the airline to fly to and easy for the passengers to connect to other destinations worldwide. At this stage we have no plans to go to Malaysia."

Australian Airlines too will not be enticed by this incentive to include Kuala Lumpur in its first phase of operations. Australian Airlines (AA) is poised for take off from its base in Cairns, Queensland, to six Asian cities - Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, Singapore, Taipei and Hong Kong - between October 27 and November 21-22 (, May 29).

Australian's chief executive, Denis Adams, said Kuala Lumpur is definitely on Australian's list. "KLIA has real attractions especially the flight times and the recent concessions given by the government. But the critical factor is the market and at the moment there is not enough critical mass to justify flying to KLIA in Australian's first phase of operations."

Adams said Kuala Lumpur may be one of the destinations in Australian's second phase of operations.

This has been scheduled to start in early 2003, will see the airline flying from a second base in a southern Australian capital city to a number of destinations.

Some Malaysian buyers said it was ironic that Australian Airlines did not include Kuala Lumpur in its first phase of operations, as it cited supply and demand as one of its criteria for choosing the six destinations for its first phase of operations (, May 29).

Said one of the buyers who requested anonymity, "What we are facing is insufficient seat capacity to Australia, especially with the increasing demand.

"Do you know that the only international airline that flies directly between Malaysia and Australia is Malaysia Airlines? Often there are not enough seats for us. Qantas flights out of Singapore are often full too. We can definitely do with more direct capacity and Australian Airlines would have been perfect to fill the gap as it's module fits well into the leisure outbound market to Australia."

Statistics from the Australian Commission seems to support the buyers' contention.

This year it forecasts 161,000 Malaysians will visit Australia and expects this to increase to 179,000 in 2003 and 164,000 by 2006. It is also the fourth highest performer in Asia after Singapore, China and Korea.

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