12 June 2012

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announces code-share arrangement with Japan Airlines (JAL)

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is targeting to complete code-sharing arrangements with four more oneworld member airlines, a day after announcing the signing of similar agreement with another member of the global alliance, Japan Airlines (JAL).

To date, MAS has signed 23 code-sharing agreements with various airlines and is looking at signing more as a strategy to extend its reach without having to mount its own flights.

The national carrier is now in discussion to have code-sharing arrangement with oneworld members, namely American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas and Finnair.

"Discussion with Finland's Finnair is closing and the code-sharing agreement may be concluded by year-end," MAS senior vice-president of international affairs Germal Singh Khera told Malaysian reporters here.

MAS announced the agreement with JAL at a press conference held on the sidelines of the two-day International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting, which started here yesterday.

A code-share agreement is an aviation business arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased on one airline but is actually operated by a cooperating airline under a different flight number or code.

Under the code-share, which will commence on July 1, JAL will begin marketing MAS flights between Malaysia and Japan, as well as five other domestic points and seven regional destinations such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

Conversely, MAS will place its flight indicator MH on JAL-operated flights connecting Tokyo (Narita) and Fukuoka, Nagoya and Sapporo in Japan, as well as to nine international cities including Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Guam, Honolulu and across the Pacific to Boston, Chicago and New York.

Covering up to 347 weekly flights of 51 sectors, the selling of the MAS-JAL code-share service will begin today. The code-share on the Malaysia-Japan trunk route covers MAS' 11 times weekly Kuala Lumpur-Tokyo return flights and the six times weekly Kuala Lumpur-Osaka return flights as well as JAL's daily Tokyo-Kuala Lumpur return flights.

"The code-share between Malaysia and Japan will offer the travelling public in both countries more choices of flight. It will offer flexibility to passengers as under the code-share, the frequency of flights is effectively increased," Germal said.

MAS head of commercial Dr Hugh Dunleavy, who represented the national carrier in exchanging aircraft models with JAL's chairman Masaru Onishi as a symbolic gesture of the code-share, said it is on track to become a full member of oneworld by year-end.

"As much as we want to sign code-share agreements with more oneworld members, our focus now is to ensure that we become a full member of the alliance by year-end," he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement released here, MAS group chief executive officer (CEO) Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the partnership with JAL provides the national carrier the opportunity to expand its reach without having to mount its own flights to cities in Japan and beyond in North Asia and the US.

"This code-share is expected to greatly contribute towards increased tourist arrivals into Malaysia. As one of the most affordable tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific region, we are confident that more tourists from other parts of Japan will take the opportunity to use this code-share and visit Malaysia."

Earlier, when opening the meeting, IATA director- general and Tony Tyler said the global airline industry profits for 2012 are projected to be US$3 billion (RM9.5 billion), unchanged from the last update in March.

While the recent fall in oil prices, stronger-than-expected growth in passenger traffic and a bottoming out of the freight market are driving improvements in the outlook, these are being offset by the deepening European sovereign debt crisis, he said.

Source: www.btimes.com.my


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