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Malaysia Airlines, Japan Airlines get nod for joint business structure

19 Dec 2019 / 21:38 H.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL) have secured approval from regulators to launch a joint business structure in 2020.

According to a joint press statement, the two carriers have been granted individual exemption and antitrust immunity, by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and Japan`s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, respectively.

The two parties said the joint business agreement will allow both airlines to cooperate commercially on flights between Malaysia and Japan.

Furthermore, the cooperation aims to provide their customers with additional flight choices, a larger network, better connections and an enhanced frequent flyer programme.

JAL president Yuji Akasaka expressed his gratitude to the regulators for the approval of its immunity application with Malaysia Airlines.

“We anticipate launching this joint business relationship in 2020 to provide additional travel benefits for our mutual customers,” he said in the statement.

With regard to the cooperation between the two carriers, Malaysia Airlines Bhd CEO Captain Izham Ismail said he is excited for the opportunities provided from the joint business.

“We are confident that with this partnership, we will be able to deliver important benefits to our customers and to grow the business between our countries.

“We thank Mavcom for their extensive review and trust in both Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines,” he said.

The initiative to pursue the joint business was initiated in May this year, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two carriers, building up on the existing relationship that started in 2012, when Malaysia Airlines joined the oneworld alliance and subsequently offered codeshare flight operations with JAL.

During the signing of the MoU the carriers expressed that they intended to start the joint business in 2020 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics.

It had been previously reported that JAL might acquire a stake in Malaysia Airlines to help the latter return to the black. However, in October, the flagship carrier denied that it had plans to do so.

The Malaysian national carrier has also entered into a number of strategic partnerships with other airline operators to improve its coverage and service.

In November, Malaysia Airlines entered into a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines that enables both carriers to tap into new markets and offer passengers more travel options. With the partnership, Turkish Airlines will be offering new destinations in Malaysia and Australia as marketing carrier on Malaysia Airlines-operated flights, while Malaysia Airlines will be able to reach Turkey’s domestic destinations.

The national carrier has also entered into a wide-ranging commercial agreement with Singapore Airlines (SIA), which proposes revenue sharing on flights between the two countries.

Apart from the revenue sharing, the partnership entails the expansion of codeshare routes and joint marketing activities to develop tourism, which is subject to regulatory approvals from the relevant competition authorities. The agreement includes SIA’s subsidiaries SilkAir and Scoot, as well as Malaysia Airlines’ sister carrier, Firefly.

On the European front, Malaysia Airlines has a codeshare agreement with British Airways, one of its partner airlines in the oneworld alliance. With the arrangement, Malaysia Airlines customers are able to book seats on British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.

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