[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday announced immediate restrictions on check-in luggage for some Europe-bound flights, citing strong headwinds, a move that left aviation analysts puzzled.
In a statement on its website, the carrier said "unseasonably strong headwinds" were limiting the amount of baggage its flights could handle.
"This longer flight path consumes more jet fuel and for safety reasons, Malaysia Airlines has had to impose temporary limitation on checked-in baggage allowance," it said.
"Passengers who wish to check in their luggage will be able to do so, however their baggage will only arrive later." The airline advised economy passengers only to carry 7kg of hand luggage and first-class and business-class customers to limit themselves to 14kg of hand luggage.
Aviation analysts said they were baffled by the move.
"It's highly unusual and bizarre but that's what we've got used to from Malaysia Airlines. By their reasoning all other carriers in Southeast Asia heading to Europe would not be able to check in luggage, too, if indeed what they claim is true," Shukor Yusof, analyst with Malaysia-based Endau Analytics, told AFP.
"I've never heard anything more ludicrous in my 20 years in the industry," Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at Flightglobal, described the airline's reasoning as strange.
"It doesn't make sense... and it's probably going to cause a lot of passenger frustration," he said.
The airline had no immediate comment.
The trouble-plagued company last month said it was investigating a Christmas Day mix-up that sent one of its planes flying in the wrong direction after it left Auckland.
The airline is also still reeling from the loss of two planes in 2014, including Flight MH370 which disappeared in March that year after inexplicably deviating from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight path with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
In July 2014 Flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a ground-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.
In June last year the loss-making flag carrier's new CEO Christoph Mueller outlined plans to stabilise it including 6,000 job cuts.