Malaysia Airlines cancels Darwin-Kuala Lumpur flights

By David Flynn, June 20 2017
Malaysia Airlines cancels Darwin-Kuala Lumpur flights

Malaysia Airlines is pulling the plug on flights between Darwin and Kuala Lumpur, with the last flight from the NT capital to Kuala Lumpur on July 28.

"As part of our ongoing network optimisation program, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) has recently conducted a detailed commercial review of our Australia and New Zealand operations," the airline said in a statement issued this evening.

"As a result of this commercial review, we have made the decision to end our three times weekly services to the Northern Territory capital of Darwin from our Kuala Lumpur hub."

Rebooking your Darwin-KL flight

Travellers booked on the Darwin-Kuala Lumpur flights beyond July 28 will be offered a full refund or can be rebooked and rerouted onto partner airlines.

Business class passengers will have the option to fly with Qantas from Darwin to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth, from where they can catch another Malaysia Airlines flight.

Economy class passengers will have the option to fly on Jetstar from Darwin to Singapore, and from there connect to Malaysia Airlines' flights to Kuala Lumpur.

More Aussie flights on the way

However, the airline says that despite dumping Darwin "we are working toward announcing frequency increases to Adelaide, Auckland and Perth in the future, while Sydney and Melbourne will likely see peak season capacity increases with our flagship A380s".

It's understood that Malaysia Airlines also hopes to restart Airbus A330 flights between Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur later this year.

The Oneworld member has been cutting into many routes over the past few years – including axing flights to Brisbane and reducing the number of services to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – as it works to climb out of debt and back into profitability. 

This will also see Airbus A380 flights to London scrapped from mid-2018 and replaced by smaller more fuel-efficient Airbus A350 jets.

At the same time, the Malaysian flag-carrier is planning to carefully rebuild its network with new aircraft orders and potential codeshare partnerships with Qantas and British Airways.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

28 May 2016

Total posts 128

While this is a shame for Darwin and the rest of Northern Australia, it was somewhat inevitable. The likes of Jetstar and other LCC's probably destroyed most of their yield, and most J pax probably went over to Silkair, who IMHO have a better business product than MH.

Hopefuly once Malaysia is back on their feet we will seem them return to Darwin (and Brisbane too)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 703

The one thing which Silkair lacks is lounge access in Darwin. Despite having a lounge through passport control only 1 of the 6 airlines operating international flights out of Darwin actually uses it.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 521

Come on I'm surprised that a link by a major carrier between Darwin and an Asian city lasted as long as it did. Premium traveller demand is probably zilch, and the only viable routes are regional flights to Dili and Denpasar (the latter popular with FIFO workers). Darwin could work as a regional hub in the context of flights that originate in SYD/MEL/BNE and then continue to their Asian destinations, but except for refuelling purposes there is usually little need to do so as any services from these cities to Asia can be performed non-stop.

15 Sep 2012

Total posts 93

Will Batik (formerly Malindo) start flights? They already fly to Brisbane.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

16 May 2011

Total posts 113

Yessss! Brisbane is coming back!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 97

In Australia, if an airport has "International" in its name, it is very unlikely to have int'l flights.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1205

With int'l gate slots in MEL and SYD at such a premium, it makes sense for MH to consider A380s on these routes. AU is a significant feeder of traffic for MH and it appears the only way it can continue to grow its MEL/SYD volumes is with bigger planes.  SQ and CX are also confronting the same restrictions and moving to greater use of 777s, A350s and A380s (SQ only) in lieu of A330s.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 52

I just wonder why the B737 flights for KUL-DRW route are operating at such odd hours, i.e. arriving DRW at 0320hrs from KUL and departing DRW at 0410hrs for KUL.  Maybe this is the reason for low load factor.  MH should operate the flights at a more suitable time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2013

Total posts 23

The hours was designed so that: 
a) Maximum flight/plane usage. Profitable flights fly during the day, less profitable flight when possible fly red eye flight. (You not notice all the Aus LCC fly in to Darwin at midnight)
b) Connecting flights, esp MH1 and MH4(london), only a couple of hours between two flights. I used this flight to China, with a connection of less then an hour or two on the next flight, same on the way back.
c) Jetstar Asia from Singapore fly in at similar hours, their load factors are higher because they are LCC.

Low factor was low because
a) People where scared of MH and his recent incidents, 

b) KL/Malayisa is not a Australia Tourist hotspot. like Bali or Thailand. 
c) LCC are "cheaper", and Singapore has more flights. 

I really do wish these flight could have continue as I use them to travel for business and personal. 

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 8

Silkair vs MAS business class and its clearly MAS has better products.

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 1

good day all,since Mas has cancelled, what other options do we have apart from SQ and Jet Star, finding it hard to find flights back to msia with a reasonable stop over (3hrs max)

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