UPDATE on 6th January: Malaysia Airlines confirmed today that normal check-in baggage allowances are available on all flights across the network including services to Amsterdam, London and Paris.
We contacted the airline to find out the reasons behind this situation as there have been many news reports and comments on social media with all sorts of speculative and in many cases, very negative comments.
This is what they had to offer:
“Airlines plan different flight routes depending on multiple elements including the type or aircraft, number of engines, equipment on board, fuel tank size and availability of alternative airports en route. The risk assessment process is complex and varies between each airline’s commercial policies. MAS does a daily risk assessment which determines our most optimum route. This short term baggage policy was imposed when the airline recently had to operate a longer route to Europe, which combined with strong head winds, limited the airlines’ ability to carry baggage and cargo. The head winds over the last four days were in excess of 200knots which can add up to 15% fuel burn on a B777-200 aircraft.”
It may seem obvious that since the loss of MH17, Malaysia Airlines would have been exercising what is probably a higher level of caution about flying over potential ‘danger zones’. This would have resulted in their flying a considerably longer route when the assessed risk is considered sufficient to avoid these areas. A number of other airlines are continuing to fly the shorter route which Malaysia Airlinbes is also returned to now the risk has been deemed to have been reduced to normal.
In a MEDIA STATEMENT released at 7.10p.m. Malaysian time on 5th January 2016, Malaysia Airlines has advised that they have updated their risk assessment matrix based on new data received, which now allows certain aircraft types to fly a shorter route.
The Statement says that:
“This is the case with our long range A380 aircraft to London which has been able to resume normal services. However, baggage limitations still apply on our flights to Amsterdam and Paris operated by the B777 aircraft. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide the necessary updates.”
Malaysia Airlines had earlier imposed temporary limitation on its baggage allowance to European destinations due to unseasonably strong head winds, which limited the airlines’ ability to carry baggage and cargo.