Malaysia Airlines aims to reinforce regional network

Kuala Lumpur
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Malaysia Airlines aims to grow its regional network in the near term as part of a plan to return to increase yields and profitabilty.

The carrier will increase services and frequencies to destinations in the Middle East, southeast Asia, north Asia including China, south Asia and Australia.

"We are constantly monitoring our network and focusing on the regions that we feel will have high demand, and allow us to increase yields," says the carrier's CEO and managing director Azmil Zahruddin.

This ties in with the carrier's plans to induct new Boeing 737-800s from end-2010. MAS has 35 aircraft on order and another 20 on option. These will be deployed on regional routes that are about 4hr flight-time away from the carrier's base in Kuala Lumpur.

Europe remains a key market, where the carrier is adopting a "hold and fix" strategy. Destinations like London and Amsterdam continue to be lucrative and the carrier is looking at ways to increase loads. It has also dropped unprofitable services like those to Stockholm.

It will continue to monitor demand for services to destinations in South America and Africa - where it historically operated many services at the behest of the Malaysian Government due to political reasons. It plans to restructure its flights to North America after cancelling services to New York, and will continue to monitor the service to Los Angeles.

"We have cancelled many of the services that were not profitable and did not make sense, and we will continue to do that if necessary. We will see what we need to with South America and Africa," says Azmil. "At the end of the day, we have to make hard-nosed business decisions about these issues."