The Boeing 777 has been one of the most reliable aircraft of the past couple of decades, and has really shaped many airlines’ route networks. Routes which weren’t previously feasible on the 747 (either due to demand or distance) became feasible with the 777.
While the 777 has proven a huge success for most airlines, unfortunately, Malaysia Airlines might not agree, as they lost two 777s just months apart last year. It’s extremely rare for commercial aircraft to crash, let alone two identical aircraft of a small fleet. While the accidents weren’t the plane’s fault, that doesn’t change how insanely unlucky Malaysia Airlines has been with the 777.
Following the events of last year, Malaysia has been on the path to recovery, and is under new leadership. They’re hugely shrinking the airline with tons of layoffs and also retiring quite a few planes. They’re cutting routes like crazy, and realize that if they stand a chance at survival they need to emerge a much smaller airline.
Malaysia Airlines will tentatively be retiring their 777s as of March 2016. Via airlineroute.net, it looks like Malaysia’s last 777 flight is scheduled for March 26, 2016, between Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou. That 777 flight will operate with the following schedule:
MH376 Kuala Lumpur to Guangzhou departing 9:30AM arriving 1:35PM
MH377 Guangzhou to Kuala Lumpur departing 2:40PM arriving 6:45PM
As of March 27, 2016, the flight will be operated by a Boeing 737-800 — that’s quite a downgrade!
As you might expect, award space is wide open on the flight, with two business class and seven economy class award seats available in both directions (which is typically the most space you’ll see from Malaysia Airlines):
Usually, I find it quite sad when airlines retire planes. Heck, I almost cry every time I watch the Singapore Airlines 747 retirement video.
But in this case I think it’s a good thing for Malaysia Airlines. Hopefully it’s the continuation of a new chapter for the airline, and will sort of give the airline more of a “clean slate.”
I have to imagine a lot of employees still have a lot of hurt and negative feelings associated with the 777. Hopefully that will go away a bit more as the planes are retired.
Once the 777s are retired, Malaysia’s fleet will primarily consist of 737s and A330s. They still have a couple of A380s which they fly to London, though at the latest those will be sold off once they get the A350s, which they’ll instead fly to London. Malaysia Airlines is shrinking fast, and hopefully it’s for the better, as the airline gets some new life.
I have to imagine the last Malaysia 777 flight will be emotional for many people… for a variety of reasons.
Are you sad to see the Malaysia 777s retired, or do you think it’ll help them with their fresh start?