Malaysia Airlines to close some airport lounges, update others

By David Flynn, June 1 2015
Malaysia Airlines to close some airport lounges, update others

Malaysia Airlines will close some of its Golden Lounge airport lounges around the world and redirect travellers to the lounges of Oneworld partners.

However, the lounges which remain open – including its flagship lounges at Kuala Lumpur – will receive a much-needed upgrade as MAS works to woo premium travellers.

"They will all be improved, because they are a little bit tired" newly-minted Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller told Australian Business Traveller.

"There is very little consistency in terms of what we offer when it comes to food, to workspace and other facilities. This is the plan for our main three lounges in KLIA, and also London Heathrow and Melbourne."

In the coming months Mueller's team will run the ruler over the entire Golden Lounge network to see which lounges will be shuttered in favour of better-equipped facilities run by Oneworld partners, much as the airline did with its Sydney lounge in 2014.

"We currently operate 11 lounges and some of them will be closed and replaced by those of Oneworld partners in order to provide a better service to the customer" Mueller said, "because our smaller lounges will never be able to compete with a larger lounge equipped with showers and so forth."

At the same time, some MAS lounges which currently open for short periods – sometimes as little as six hours a day, according to Mueller – might be "opened to selected airline partners for better capacity."

Mueller also revealed that the airline's Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 jets would be upgraded with a new fully-flat business class seat replacing the current angled flat beds and "sloping sleepers"

Read: All-new business class for Malaysia Airlines A330s, Boeing 777s

The announcements come ahead of a September 1 rebranding for Malaysia Airlines and form part of Mueller's sweeping program to re-invent the troubled airline.

"Malaysia still needs a national carrier" Mueller said, but describes the new Malaysia Airlines as a lean start-up which will spring from what he terms "a hard reset" of the current company.

"We have a pretty ambitious restructuring process ahead of us" Mueller said of the process, which will be accompanied by a downsized fleet, a cut in the number of destinations and shedding more than 6,000 employees to reduce its workforce by a third.

Also read: Malaysia Airlines to get new name from September 1st

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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.

I'm amazed at the extent of the free hand Mueller is given. I wonder if he has specifically requested it as a condition of his employment?

I love to be a fly on the wall in the Malaysian PM's office or the Cabinet room. Things must have been so bad at MH that they've allowed a foreigner to come in and ride roughshod, dismantling the vestiges of their national airline; and in doing so robbing them of their much vaunted privileges. This is not a nation that indulges in self-deprication or revels in facing challenges head on. If only the walls could speak...

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

I would suggest everything the new CEO is very necessary. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

You would think it'd be hard to justify lounges in any Australian port where there is a QF lounge.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 442

Unless its not open when their flights depart, I've never understood why airlines operate their own lounges at partner hubs.

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 13

MH lounges in LHR and MEL make absolutely no sense to me.

MH should move to T3 in LHR, and like QF (which also has 2xdaily A380) and other oneworld airlines use the BA lounge. Staying in T4 makes no sense imo.

In MEL, MH should also use the QF lounge. I am sure an airline like EY could make much better use of the space than MH.  

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

16 May 2011

Total posts 113

1. Don't you reckon the QF Lounge is too crowded already? Especially during peak periods?

2. MH is probably tied down to a long lease at MEL, same story with CX and UA too. So might as well refurbish and make use of the lounge to entice Premium passengers right?

3. EY will be opening its own lounge in a much nicer space soon (next to Emirates) on the top level

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1023

Depends what their contract/lease with LHR says. The long term plan for LHR is to close T1 and T3 as the new T2 and T5 are extended. Assuming no new runway/T6, they'll end up with T2 and T5 between the runways and the current T4+cargo area.

It's more likely that oneworld members will move from T3 to T5 in the next 5-10 years.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

The QF lounge in Melbourne was closed long before my overnight MH flight to KL a few weeks ago. I think Cathay's lounge may also have been closed? To be honest, I don't remember seeing it. The MH lounge wasn't amazing, but if it weren't there I suspect I'd have been lounging at the gate. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 204

Can imagine the PER lounge closing...

LHR will stay as thats a flagship lounge and only recently other oneworld lounge in T4 either (QR doesnt share)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

Why? BNE will close before Perth.  There are 10 (?) weekly flights to KUL plus Kota Kinabalu several times a week.

Looks like they're reducing BNE to less than daily...

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2482

Brisbane doesn't have a Malaysia Airlines lounge – MH uses the Qantas lounges.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

Embarassing.  My bad.  Then Perth would be a contender for any Australian closures then.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1023

Anyone think they might close the MH SIN lounge in T2 and move to T1 to make use of the QF and/or CX lounges?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

Why were my posts deleted?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2553

Ross: they referred to an aspect of the article which had been corrected, so the posts no longer made sense to anybody reading them. 

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