Malaysia Airlines will temporarily leave Australian skies as the country's flag carrier winds back its international flight network in response to the coronavirus crisis.
With a ban on most foreign nationals from entering Australia and restrictions preventing most Australian citizens and permanent residents from jetting abroad, there's currently very little demand for international flying.
That's especially true between Australia and Malaysia, given Malaysia's borders are currently closed to foreigners, although airside transits are currently permitted, subject to "protocols" at the airport such as health screening.
The airline's timetables currently show the following route suspensions and changes over the coming months – although these remain subject to change:
- Sydney-Kuala Lumpur: After a final flight on March 28, MH122/123 and MH140/141 are suspended until 30 April, partially returning from May with 5 flights a week each way.
- Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur: MH128/129 and MH148/149 are suspended until 30 April, returning with 4-6 flights a week in each direction from May.
- Brisbane-Kuala Lumpur: Except for a one-off return flight on 16/17 May, MH134/135 are suspended until 31 May, returning to the schedule from June with two flights a week.
- Adelaide-Kuala Lumpur: Excluding a one-off return flight on 25/26 May, MH138/139 are suspended through until 31 May, then it's three flights a week from June.
- Perth-Kuala Lumpur: MH124/125 and MH126/127 suspended until 30 April, with four return flights per week running from May.
- Perth-Kota Kinabalu: MH120/121 are suspended until 30 June, returning with one flight a week in each direction from July.
Many of these suspended flights have been removed from Malaysia Airlines' schedules completely, while others remain listed but have been withdrawn from sale despite the flight otherwise being empty, which also indicates a cancellation or change.
If you're booked to travel during the periods above, check your reservation to see whether you've been reaccommodated on an alternative flight, or contact Malaysia Airlines or your travel agent for assistance.
Malaysia Airlines' change and cancellation policies
Affected by these changes? Right now, full refunds are possible in situations where Malaysia Airlines' flights are cancelled or passengers would not be eligible for travel because of a country’s travel restrictions.
This would apply to almost all travellers who were going to fly into or out of Australia aboard Malaysia Airlines.
If your flight hasn't been cancelled and you're able but unwilling to travel, the airline's current travel waiver policy offers free flight changes or the option of converting the booking into a travel credit, valid until 31 December 2020.
Whether you change your flight or take the credit path, all travel has to be completed by 31 December 2020. You won't pay a fare difference on your first flight change, but this is payable on all subsequent changes.
For now, Malaysia Airlines requests that only passengers with travel booked for the next 48 hours call them on 13 26 27 in Australia or +60 3 7843 3000 from overseas.
All other passengers should complete an online assistance request form where they can request a flight credit or refund, if applicable.