Malaysia Airlines does a U-turn, lifts baggage ban on Europe flights
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airlines has announced that it has lifted a ban on check-in baggage on flights to Paris and Amsterdam, after their earlier move to ban angered many passengers who slammed the airline on social media. Taking a quick damage control step, the airline made a pronto detour on its decision. The U-turn came less than 24 hours after the airline announced that passengers would not be allowed check-in baggage for Tuesday and Wednesday flights to the two European cities, the reason being, ‘unseasonably strong headwinds’ on a longer flight path that it has to manoveur about.
The airline elaborated that recently, it had to operate a longer route to Europe, via Egyptian airspace, for safety reasons. As strong headwinds over the past four days were in excess of 200 knots, the natural environmental load caused a fuel burn of high quantum, which could therefore, add up to 15 percent of extra fuel consumption on its Boeing 777 aircraft. The statement spoke thus — Based on its current risk assessment, done on a daily basis, the airline is now able to take a shorter route on European flights. Malaysia Airlines maintains that safety is of utmost priority in its operations and will not hesitate to adjust its flight path based on its daily risk assessment.
Staying shy of giving detail route plan, the Airline did not elaborate on change in route, and airline officials refrained from any comment on it right now. Many passengers left angry comments on the airline’s Facebook page, slamming it for being the only airline to impose such a ban. Varied opinions filled the page, wherein some opined that the airline should have limited the number of passengers and rejected freight instead. Few other passengers preferred a refund of their tickets, and spelt it out on the FB page.
Malaysia Airline has been facing rough weather on the ground too, and, to take cognizance of the situation, last year, the airline appointed its first foreign CEO, Christoph Mueller, the former head of Ireland’s Aer Lingus, to oversee a major restructuring. Mueller has said the airline could break even by 2018 after cutting 6,000 staff, selling surplus aircraft and refurbishing its international fleet. Mueller took to his seat with a baggage of unpleasant history of flights of Malaysia Airlines, as losses of two flights in 2014 had already hit the finances of a struggling Malaysia Airlines. One flight heading to Beijing disappeared and was believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. That tragedy was followed months later by the Ukraine disaster.