Malaysia Airlines offloads key routes to Emirates

The tie up between Malaysia Airlines (MAB) and Emirates is an interesting one. On the one hand, there must be money to be made from these routes otherwise Emirates wouldn’t touch them and the cost to Emirates will be minimal because they are flying all these sectors anyway.

MAB will still be able to show it offers flights on the CDG – KL route but in reality it will be an Emirates flight that goes via DXB. As a result, MAB will lose a substantial source of foreign currency and the carriers brand as well as the Malaysia brand will be diluted.

At least Malaysia Airlines passengers can use this on flights to Europe
At least Malaysia Airlines passengers can use this on flights to Europe

It’ll also make it harder to sell Malaysia as a location for FDI to European companies because there are limited direct flights (to busy CEOs a 2 hour stopover in DXB each way is an expensive irritant) to the country.

On the other, it makes sense because Malaysia Airlines is now associated with the current poster boy of the aviation business (Sorry SIA) which should benefit the carrier. Although I wonder how this will work once Emirates gets a look at the weak offering MAB is, especially up the front of the bird.

It looks increasingly like Mueller wants to make Malaysia Airlines a small, regional quasi low cost carrier. That’s a tough ask in a market where loyalty is hard to come by. Whichever way you look at it, the brand is being diluted and that’s a costly shame for the carrier and the country.

I suspect there are KPIs involved that focus only on the bottom line and not on building a global brand that flies the flag for Malaysia and helps sell the country as a business and tourist destination. That’s a pity.


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