Malaysia Airlines Deactivates Their Reactivated Deactivated 747

Filed Under: Malaysia

As I first wrote about in March, a few months back struggling Malaysia Airlines brought a 747-400 back into service. Malaysia Airlines used to have a fleet of Boeing 747s, which they retired in 2012. This coincided with the airline taking delivery of their six Airbus A380 aircraft, which they used primarily for their London and Paris routes.

Following the terrible tragedies of MH370 and MH17, Malaysia Airlines has been forced to restructure and downsize, and as part of that they’ve retired their entire 777 fleet.

Malaysia Airlines 777

That means the only plane which Malaysia Airlines can still operate to many points in Europe is the A380. As of now, Malaysia Airlines just operates their A380s on their two daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow (I’ve reviewed the route in first class from both London to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to London).

Malaysia Airlines A380

Over the summer these planes started going through maintenance checks, and someone at Malaysia decided it would make sense to bring back a single 747-400, in case they needed a spare plane.

How that’s more efficient than just canceling a flight is beyond me, especially given the inefficiencies of operating only a single aircraft (in terms of crewing, selling seats, etc.), especially for an airline in as poor of a financial situation as Malaysia.

On the plus side, I will say that the 747-400, which was brought back in a retro livery, looked gorgeous. It’s about the only positive thing I can say about that whole project…

Malaysia Airlines 747

Over the summer Malaysia Airlines was going to operate the 747 twice per week between Kuala Lumpur and London… only that didn’t actually happen. As a matter of fact, the 747 didn’t operate a single commercial flight since it was brought back from retirement.

And guess what? Malaysia Airlines has now officially deactivated their reactivated deactivated 747. The plane didn’t operate a single commercial flight in the four months that it was “activated.”

Per CAPA, Malaysia Airlines claims that minimal costs were incurred because the plane never lost its airworthiness. Supposedly the only expenses incurred were a new paint job and a few test flights. However, they’re officially deactivating the plane again because if it were to fly beyond July 2016 it would need a heavy maintenance check, which they don’t think is worthwhile.

Even if the costs incurred were’t huge, I still don’t get who thought this was a good idea… certainly not the airline’s ex-CEO, Christoph Mueller. Rumor has it that the 747 was one of the “last straws” that made him leave the airline, since he was never consulted about the plane being brought back into service.

As an aviation geek I’m sort of sad that we won’t see a commercial Malaysia 747 flight again. At the same time, I can’t believe they thought this was a good idea to begin with.

(Tip of the hat to Pierre)

  1. You would think someone would’ve thought of the maintenance check when they brought the plane back.

  2. Hey Lucky
    Great article. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t have a few A330’s lying around for long haul as well?

  3. I saw the 747 parked at the KUL airport in May, after just having flown Malaysia airlines. According to their magazine, the 747 was brought back to fly “select high-density domestic routes” or something of the sort, which I found peculiar. Now we know how much they really utilized it.

  4. This stunt was pulled without Muller even knowing about it. I guess the new coming CEO has forced some sanity upon the team.
    What happened with their other A380’s? They had 6 of them.

  5. I don’t get it, why they keep 6 of A380 but not able to manage the deployment of these aircrafts, frankly that’s stupid ideas to bring back B747 to their market, they should keep thinking of the efficiency for flying B747 before make decision, and this is just wasting money painting and renovate the aircraft but then they just canceled without any single flight.

  6. This “news” is just for cheap publicity. The facts about available planes to cater for the “very so-important(?)” KL-London route was already incorrect.

  7. I had a great experience with MH last month Heathrow to London – service was great and comfy business class. This unfortunately was soured by an experience of checking in at KLIA from KL to Melbourne. It was so stressful. There was no whatsoever customer service. I arrived at the airport at 7 am for a 1030 am flight and queued for A whole hour just to drop my check in luggage. The queue was long and snaked through the airport terminal. Passengers had no clue if they were in the right queue. The staff at the MH desk in essence sat and looked pretty bored and dumb. There was quite a rude man with an orange jacket who clearly looked flustered and was ordering a group of people to the back of the queue when it was obvious his other colleague had directed the group to where they were. It was inefficient and frustrating. While I had experienced a delightful in flight service, I cant say the same about the MH ground staff. Their operations manager has obviously not read the several tweeter comments that went back to 2014. #mh129 as similar complaints had been made on tweeter. MH just dont get it

  8. Hey, so I remember seeing a Malaysia Airlines 747 in the retro livery at Chicago O’hare taxing… Did I mistaken that for another airplane? – That was 7/15/16

  9. Malaysia certainly is not a shit country and Malaysia Airlines is not a shit airline. 2 accidents 1 you could never imagined. Getting shot out of the air when Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Emirates were all flying in the same airspace Malaysia was, hardly the fault of Malaysia Airlines.
    MH 370 is still a mystery and anyone saying anything else is simply speculating. Since 2014 incidents Air Asia crashed into the Ocean killing all on board , Germanwings crashed into a mountain killing all on board, Emirates crashed at Dubai luckily all got out alive. There have been many incidents and crashes sine the 2 Malaysia Airlines incidents. To call out 1 carrier as being unsafe is ridiculous many airlines have had emergency landings all could have rexulted in fatalities. Since July 2014 Malaysia Airlines has had impecible safety record. Maybe those hating on Malaysia Airlines should reads some true facts and research on aircraft incidents since 2014.
    Malaysia Airlines are a great carrier i have flown over 50 flights and never had a bad experience.
    My sister flew Malaysia Airlines 3 days after MH 17 with not a issue or complaint.

  10. Someone just wanted to make some money for the paint job. That’s the story of Malaysian Airlines. I never fly with them eventhough I am a Malaysian.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *