Malaysia Airlines on Monday ceased its operations from Pakistan – a decision that will affect a significant number of Pakistani students, tourists and business people who frequently travel to Malaysia and Australia through the airline.
Malaysia Airlines has embarked on a significant route rationalisation exercise as part of its Business Plan announced in December last year, to stem its losses anticipated in 2011 and 2012. The airline is gradually cutting its operations on seven loss-making routes, including the Dubai-Karachi-Kuala Lumpur route – a significant one for Pakistani travellers to the Pacific Rim.
The airline had two weekly flights from Pakistan on the Dubai-Karachi-Kuala Lumpur route. The decision will help the other airlines operating on this route like Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways as nearly all of the Pakistani traffic of Malaysia Airlines will now be diverted to these airlines.
Malaysia Airlines is only the most recent international airline leaving Pakistan in recent years. Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines have all closed down operations in Pakistan over the last few years, usually citing low revenues and profitability.
Industry officials believe that the remaining airlines on these routes will increase their fares owing to the increase in number of passengers and a reduction in competition, which will hurt Pakistani travellers most.
As for Malaysia Airlines itself, it appears to have arrived at this decision after careful deliberation, even though its announcement appears somewhat abrupt.
“The decision is not abrupt. The airline had decided to wrap up its operations in Pakistan last year in September,” Nihal Akbar, finance head of Malaysia Airlines, told The Express Tribune. “According to our information, the government of Malaysia informed the government of Pakistan about the pending closure in October last year.”
While Malaysia Airlines dominated the market for Pakistanis travelling to Malaysia, the traffic did not seem to be enough to sustain the route. Akbar estimates that about 35,000 to 40,000 Pakistanis travel to Malaysia every year. Most of these are tourists, students and business people. Pakistan International Airlines, which runs two flights a week to Kuala Lumpur, is now likely to benefit from the flow of this traffic.
Another segment of business that Malaysia Airlines used to capture, but now will not be able to, is that of people travelling between Pakistan and Australia, a large and growing market as the number of Pakistani students and immigrants in Australia expands. Most of these people now travel through Hong Kong or Dubai, which is both costlier and takes more time. Malaysia Airlines’ only real competitor for this route – Singapore Airlines – had already left Pakistan.
According to Malaysia Airlines’ website, the company’s focus area includes Southeast Asia, Greater China, North Asia and South Asia. Yet it now appears that South Asia does not seem to include Pakistan.
The company’s focus on those regions appears motivated by a burgeoning middle class and increased global and intra-regional trade. Malaysia Airlines plans to increase frequencies to key regional cities to benefit from the strong growth in regional demand.
A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that decision of Malaysia Airlines was purely based on economic reasons and not because they had any problems in Pakistan. “This fact is clear because they have cut down their global operations in different countries and not only in Pakistan,” he added.
Aviation industry officials say that government of Pakistan should increase its efforts to lure foreign airlines to country because of the immense economic advantages that the aviation industry offers to any economy. They say that an increase in the operations of foreign airlines will help improve hotel occupancy, tourism and other associated industries that Pakistan needs in these difficult economic times.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2012.
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I think this article is over exploiting the situation , several new airlines added Pakistan in thier desitinations over the past year , these include fly dubai , Nas air , Rak airways and Eritiean Airlines
I think malaysian closed more due to financial reason than anything else , and one cant compare india with pakistan , there are millions of more people there thus far more travellers and due to other reasons pakisatanis get far less number of visas then indians or others do
@ FAHIM Cant agree with you more on what you have said. Especially this statement.
Yet it now appears that South Asia does not seem to include Pakistan
And about military budget, I think its more than just 40%, its around 70%.
Another plot by the Zionists aimed at killing muslims. As intending travellers will have to travel on PIA.
Dont worry after a 2012 hopefully a new government will come which will serve in the interests of Pakistan and our economy will start improving all airlines that are closing and have closed operations since 2008 will return lets hope for the best
Comeon guys dont be so emotional .. that flight was via dubai Karachi and Kualalumpur and they have closed the route ... so they have closed the route to dubai as well and also in many other countries ... its just a cost cutting measure ... so chill
@Arijit Sharma: Believe in Allah and everything will be fine!
@Muhamad Ali: Dear Mr. Mohamad please do not be emotional and involve Pakistan's rivalry with India with MAS's commercial decision. MAS had been losing money serving the Pakistani route and who is going to compensate MAS for further loses? What is a nuclear power in South Asia got to do with a commercial airline?
@Arjit, China will never abandon Pakistan until the nation is squeezed of all the resources or until Pakistan realises that they were a pawn in Chinese hands used against India and develops good relations with India. I read, longtime back a Chinese diplomat said that they never expected to use Pakistan for so long against India after independence.
what can u expect from the current corrupt government Malaysia airlines decision is correct they are not getting any profit from our country what can they do lets hope for the best in the future with economy starting to improve and a number of airlines resume thier operations to Pakistan. Back in 2005,2006 and 2007 we saw a great number airlines returning or resuming old operations to Pakistan as that time Pakistan was considered as an important market many airlines like singapore airlines and Lufthansa returned to Pakistan and others like KLM,British airways were also planning to return
Its very sad to hear all this happening
Malaysian airlines has 2 flights daily to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore and about to add a daily flight to Hyderabad(India). That is where their 'south Asian' growth Market is.
"Deteriorating World ECONOMY" has everything to do with the cut back of Malaysian airlines. The airline industry, once flourishing, is facing bankruptcy all over the world. Every month we hear american and european airlines filing for bankruptcy protection chapters. Low international travel, higher unemloyment rates, very high diesel prices, low tourism, low business and investment activity, ceased banking sector, ie. all contribute equally to the downfall of airline industry. Having said that, one door closes two doors open. Downfall of one is beneficial to the other competitors. In this very high competitive world optimum executiong or even existence of all busines simultaneously is very cumbersome.
PIA, Sri Lanka Air and Emirates already provide link to Pakistan via their respective hubs. Competing with them Sri Lanka Air is tough since they are considerably cheaper and have 10Kg more checked in luggage. Personally I really like the Malaysian Air since the planes were newer and service is better but business is business. Dragging politics into it and start subversive rumors is laughable at most if not stupid.
Its nothing to do with pakistan its a international economy after stupit war 2003 in iraq america distroyed not only u,s but whole world economy. and thats a reason now american air lines fly ing to india and china which used to be they called dirty and third world.
@Muhamad Ali: lol what does being nuclear power have to do with this ? lol same flights as india.. our economy is bigger so its obvious international airlines gets bigger profits...pak is a smaller economy , with security problem , instability of the govt, terrorism, corruption etc... india also has lots of these similar problems .but atleast we are run by a govt. are better organized in comparison to u .no one in the world knows who runs pakistan= the army, ISI, Govt, or the taliban ! the way u have spoken shows how arrogant u are.....no wonder even yr other muslim countries helps us much more compared to u ppl... try being humble first then u will see other countries showing u more respect ....
Observation of Malaysian airline business focus begin south asia,I think the website is not updated. Airlines world over are not doing well, since pak economy is suffering it is kinda adding fuel to the fire.All Pakistani do know what needs to be done, we Indians hope you can pull it off and may maybe we can add organically to each others economy. In the meantime just make sure PIA is working fine on all routes used by pakistanis
Its obvious that they are leaving because there is something dodgy going on.
Slowly slowly you will see a lot of big multinationals leave Pakistan until we get a good government who puts the economy on a strong footing and sorts out the law and order situation
For all those thinking, hey! Malaysia is a muslim country,why are they doing this? They are mistaken my the fact that around 90% of the business here is owned and controlled by the Chinese (malaysian)
@fahim: Spot on, very realistic thinking. The future of Pakistan looks more and more questionable. I know it is going to make many Pakistanis upset but while there are increasing number of flights (some direct) from North America to India but the most top airlines in the world are avoiding Pakistan. If it were not due to some Middle East airlines, it would be difficult to go to Pakistan from North America and other far away countries. Regards, Mirza
@Mard-e-Haq: PIA is going to be an item in the museum in the coming year. Only needed the last nail in the PIA`s coffin.
@Muhamad Ali: Brilliant! Islamic socialism at its best!
Oh now i get it. This decision may have links to the recent fraudulent visas ....
Pakistani's need to protest this injustice. If South Asia is a focus area for Malaysian Airlines, they should have the same number of flights to Pakistan as India. Else, they should pull out of India too if they are not not making enough money in South Asia. Malaysia needs to remember that we are the only Islamic nuclear power in the world.
We should request Saudia, Gulf Air, Emirates, Ethihad, Qatar etc. to have routes via Pakistan for their flights from the gulf to Australia and South East Asia.
Malaysian airline may have read the Arab Origin theory of Pakistan and may have decided to drop Pakistan from their SE Asia business model.
Oh another brother deserts !! What if China also deserts Pakistan ? Can happen you know.
Pakistan should remind Malaysian Airlines of brotherly muslim relations as being part of the ummah they should not do this.
Millions of Pakistanis live abroad and visit Pakistan frequently, If PIA is managed properly it can do so well and make so much money.
Some key lines in the article shows our position in the new world.. "Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss International" all closed door here in last couple of years. Also "South Asia which is focus market does not seem to include Pakistan." .. what more does anyone has to say? Another report in ET suggests that our "brotherly ummah nations" have decided NOT to give us free oil credits any more. This country seems to be spiraling down in a black hole as we keep spending 40% of our budget on useless defense.