In an effort to decentralize its B737-800 fleet operations away from its Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) hub, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) is looking to open a total of seven new local crew bases. These bases would be spread across Malaysia, in Sabah and Sarawak particularly.
Where will the New Bases be?
The bases, which are expected to be opened in March the following year, will be located in Kota Kinabalu, Johor Bahru, Penang, Miri, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Bahru and Labuan, and are all a part of the ongoing MAB’s restructuring exercise.
The carrier said it will reposition eighteen of its Boeing B737-800 aircrafts to its new bases. The expectations are that this will cut crew costs by reducing the need for overnight crew in regional cities, as well as improve B737 utilization rates by 5 per cent, from 15% to 20%.
In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said:
The move will improve connectivity and service quality on the domestic network and emphasizes the airline’s commitment to the respective states, boosting local economies and fostering inbound tourism.
MAB Asks for Extension of its Contract with the Ministry of Transport
Additionally, the airline has also asked the government in Malaysia to extend its contract with the Ministry of Transport, which enables Malaysia Airlines to offer rural air services to the provinces of Sarawak and Sabah.
MAB is currently undergoing a large-scale restructuring program following a very bad 2014 in which it lost billions of dollars and had two planes disappear in tragic accidents. In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 on board and is yet to be found. About two months after, another plane from this carrier, MH17 was shot down during the conflict in Ukraine in July, killing all 298 passengers and crew.