MAS axes flights to Los Angeles from April 30

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will terminate its flights to Los Angeles effective April 30 following a route rationalisation exercise to stem losses, focusing on Asia instead.

"Whilst MAS has a long history in Los Angeles, this route is no longer economically viable. The factors contributing to this negative situation today include over-capacity and competition, resulting in lower yields, a high cost of operating the B777 aircraft, and pressure from continued increases in fuel costs.

"These are adding further pressure to the expenses of MAS, which we are continuously evaluating," MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.

This route rationalisation is expected to have minimal impact on Malaysia's position as a top tourist destination in Asia, as the national carrier will work aggressively with its code-share and oneworld partners.

MAS will focus on Asia where the demand outlook is strong, fuelled by a growing middle class and increased global and intra-regional trade. The national carrier will, thus, increase frequencies to key regional cities to benefit from the strong growth in regional demand.

At present, MAS offers seamless one-stop air connectivity between Kuala Lumpur and several major cities in the United States through a code-share arrangement with American Airlines and Japan Airlines, its partner airlines in the oneworld alliance.

Among the cities are Atlanta, Boston, Washington, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Honolulu and Raleigh via Europe and Japan.

MAS said the impact to its cargo operations following the route rationalisation would be minimal, as the carrier continues to maintain its key cargo destinations in the United States.

"The carrier regrets the inconvenience to passengers as a result of these changes and assures that it will honour all forward bookings ticketed to date on the affected route.

"The company will make alternative carrier arrangements to ensure minimum discomfort to passengers."