Malaysia Airlines (MAS) launched its inaugural Airbus A380 service between KL International Airport and Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, last month.
The full capacity flight took off for the French capital on March 1, 2013. The 494-seater Airbus 380, the world’s largest commercial plane, replaced the 282-seat B777 operations to Paris.
Flight operations between the two cities began 31 years ago, starting with the DC-10 aircraft with a transit in the Middle East.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) regional senior vice-president for UK and Europe (commercial), Huib Gorter, said MAS would benefit tremendously from its European operations this year.
“We’re happy with the aircraft and the load. France is a big market for us. The revenue from Europe alone makes up 20% of MAS’s total revenue. But this year, we’re targeting 60% of the total revenue from the A380 to come from Europe,” he said during a media interview in Paris.
The load factor for the European markets, which comprise Paris, London, Amsterdam and Istanbul, is expected to be about 80% this year.
The A380 has more range, is more fuel-efficient and needs a shorter runway for take-off and landing. It also has smaller engines, so it is easier to manage and is much quieter. Paris is the second city, after London, to operate the A380.
“We haven’t done anything exceptional but the flights are mostly full. Nobody wants to offer a discount unnecessarily.
“The passengers from France come primarily for leisure while it’s a mixed bunch with the Malaysians. People love the A380 because the seats are also better.
“The airline industry in Europe is cut-throat so we try to work on things quickly,” added Gorter.
France has the highest number of tourist arrivals in the world, so the KL-Paris daily flights will augur well for MAS. With the A380, MAS has also introduced first class travel on this route.
The super jumbo has eight first class seats on the main deck, each with a pitch of 89 inches (226cm) and convertible into a full flat bed of 87 inches (221cm) length and a width of 40 inches (102cm). Each seat also boasts an individual 23-inch in-flight entertainment screen with personal closet and storage for coat, luggage, laptop and personal belongings.
The first and business class guests onboard the inaugural flight who booked their meals through the “Chef-on-Call” service had a gastronomical surprise waiting for them.
MAS had three master chefs, Ian Hall Mckenzie, Zahiddin Dris and Michel Quissac, to whip up delicious meals.
Chef Quissac also helped to revamp the menu on the A380 out of Paris. As a special treat, all passengers were given French macaroons as an additional dessert.
To ensure all passengers always have a taste of home, the Malaysian menu selections comprise, among others, all-time favourites like Nasi Lemak, Assam Pedas Fish, Beef Korma, Chicken Curry Kapitan, Stir Fried Chicken, Wok Fried Egg Noodles, Ayam Kechap, Mutton Curry and Stir Fried Egg Noodles with Seared Prawns.
These are not only offered for flights from Malaysia but also for flights out of European, Australian and New Zealand cities.