ANA to stop flying to M'sia, citing poor business

JAPAN'S second-biggest airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) said yesterday it will stop flying to Malaysia because it cannot make money on the route.

ANA is the fourth airline to announce it is stopping services since the futuristic RM9 billion (S$4.1 billion) Kuala Lumpur International Airport opened in June 1998.

"ANA will suspend services to Malaysia effective March 24. The decision is based on commercial reasons," the airline's local general manager Tsutomu Ota told AFP.

Mr Ota said the Kansai-Kuala Lumpur route has not been profitable since it began operations in July 1995.  "The route is not making money. Passenger load is low and the yield is not performing well," he said.

Mr Ota said that from March 25, ANA flights from Kansai would terminate in Bangkok.  Passengers from Kuala Lumpur could link up with an ANA flight out of Bangkok or Singapore.

ANA flew daily to Kuala Lumpur until March last year when it scaled down operations to five days a week.  Last October, British Airways, which has been flying to Malaysia for 50 years, announced it would suspend flights from April 1 this year after heavy losses on the route. 

Australian carrier Qantas ceased services in April 2000 after consolidating operations with its shareholder British Airways.

Germany's Lufthansa halted operations in September 1999, citing poor profitability. -- AFP