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Kota Kinabalu Airport Part 2: to become second hub after Kuala Lumpur for the new Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines is planning to expand at Kota Kinabalu after opening a new base at Malaysia’s second largest airport in Apr-2016. The restructured flag carrier will be basing six 737-800s at Kota Kinabalu year-round with one or two additional aircraft during certain periods to support new charter flights to China.

The Malaysia Airlines international operation at Kota Kinabalu, which currently consists of only 12 weekly flights to four destinations, could see rapid expansion over the next couple of years. The Kota Kinabalu international routes have traditionally been highly unprofitable but the flag carrier is confident its new significantly reduced cost structure along with the improved efficiency generated by a new local crew base will make previously lossmaking routes viable.

Malaysia Airlines is also banking on improved domestic connections as it starts to promote Kota Kinabalu as a hub. The domestic operation of Malaysia Airlines and regional subsidiary MASwings will be retimed to facilitate connections. There will also be opportunities for new domestic flights under the restructured mainline carrier.

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