Malaysia Airlines on 1 July set another historic Malaysian record today with the launch of its Airbus A380 scheduled service between KL International Airport (KLIA) and London Heathrow.
In an elaborate and glittering inaugural flight programme at the KLIA, graced by the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Minister of Transport Y.B. Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha, together with invited dignitaries from various government agencies accompanied by Malaysia Airlines’ Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the superjumbo operating flight MH2 was given a rousing send-off minutes before midnight.
The full flight took off for the capital of the UK, exactly 38 years after its maiden flight operations between the two cities on 1 July 1974.
Malaysia Airlines became the eighth operator of this superjumbo and will be the second carrier to operate this aircraft when it becomes a full member of the oneworld alliance by end of this year.
The national carrier also notched several significant firsts with the A380 operations, among others being the only airline to introduce its A380 in an exclusive new livery and also having the widest First class seats among the operators of this aircraft.
Feeling elated with the commencement of this A380 scheduled service, Ahmad Jauhari said, “This is a proud moment for the entire nation and we at Malaysia Airlines are glad to be part of this historic moment which positions Malaysia in the league of the A380 operators. Such an advancement is our contribution towards the efforts by all to steer Malaysia towards developed nation status by 2020. This is also in line with the government’s desire to increase capacity for heightened tourist arrivals into the country.”
“At the corporate level, the introduction of our A380 into service will see a continuation of our refreshed brand campaign which commenced in March 2012. The objective will be to position ourselves as a preferred premium carrier, so that the market chooses us over others when we gradually roll out our total revamped product which not only includes areas like inflight but also other aspects such as our Airport Lounges and all other stages of the passenger’s journey with us,” he added.
The airline has ordered six (6) A380 aircraft, four of which will be delivered by the end of 2012 and the balance in 2013. The Kuala Lumpur - London route will be the first destination for the A380, to be followed by Sydney towards the end of November. There are also plans to fly the A380 to Narita Tokyo and/or Beijing for the other new additions to the Malaysia Airlines fleet.
Malaysia Airlines commenced flights between Kuala Lumpur and London on 1 July 1974 with a stopover in the Middle East. Effective 2 December 1989, it started non-stop flights between the two cities.
From 1 June 1995 the national carrier started twice daily non-stop services on this route.
Until 30 June 2012, Malaysia Airlines operated the 359-seater B747-400 aircraft twice daily on this route providing a total capacity of 5026 seats in each direction.
From 1 July with the thrice weekly operations of the 494-seater A380, Malaysia Airlines is injecting an additional capacity of 405 seats (8%) making it 5431 seats in each direction.
By end-August 2012, this will further increase by 18% when the second A380 is added on this route to make it daily A380 flights, offering 5971 seats weekly in each direction.