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Malaysia Airlines (MAS)
Penerbangan Malaysia
IATA
MH
ICAO
MAS
Callsign
MALAYSIAN
Founded 1947 (as Malayan Airways), October 1,1972 (as Malaysian Airline System)
Hubs
Secondary hubs
Frequent flyer program Enrich and Grads
Member lounge Golden Lounge
Subsidiaries
Fleet size 85 (+56 orders, 30 options)
Destinations 85 (Maswings included)
Company slogan Going Beyond Expectations, "MH" is Malaysian Hospitality
Parent company Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad (Government Holding Company)
Headquarters Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
Subang, Selangor, Malaysia
Key people Azmil Zahruddin (Managing Director & CEO)
Website www.malaysiaairlines.com

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (Malay: Sistem Penerbangan Malaysia; Chinese: 马来西亚航空公司; MYX: 3786) is the government-owned flag carrier airline of Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines operates flights from its home base, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and its secondary hub in Kota Kinabalu. It has its headquarters on the grounds of Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor.[1]

Despite a financial restructuring exercise in 2006, Malaysia Airlines maintains a strong presence in Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Middle East and on the Kangaroo Route between Europe and Australasia. Malaysia Airlines also operated transatlantic flights from Kuala Lumpur to Newark, via Stockholm until October 2009. It operates transpacific flights from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles, via Taipei. In 1997, the airline flew the world's longest non-commercial, non-stop flight from Boeing Field in Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, flying eastward passing the European and African continents and breaking the Great Circle Distance Without Landing record for an airliner on a Boeing 777-200ER, longer than the record held by the Boeing 777-200LR.[2]

Malaysia Airlines non-aeronautical revenue sources include maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO),[3] and aircraft handling. Malaysia Airlines has two airline subsidiaries: Firefly and MASwings. Firefly operates scheduled flights from its home base Penang International Airport which focus on tertiary cities, while MASwings focuses on inter-Borneo flights. Malaysia Airlines has a freighter fleet operated by MASKargo, which manages freighter flights and aircraft cargo-hold capacity for all Malaysia Airlines' passenger flights. MASCharter is another subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, operating charter flights using Malaysia Airlines' aircraft. After recovering from past losses, Malaysia Airlines is keen on merger and acquisition (M&A) activities: particularly airlines in the Asia Pacific region.[4] Malaysia Airlines was ranked second with score 88 in Aviation Week's Top Performing Companies which accurately measures financial viability of an airline.[5]

Since its inception in 1963, after Malayan Airways was separated into two parts, Malaysia Airlines has built up a strong brand name in the aviation industry for service and safety [6], coupled with numerous awards from international bodies such as Skytrax.[7]. Malaysia Airlines is accredited by International Air Transport Association with IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) for its operational safety practices.[8]

It is one of only six airlines to be given a 5-star status airline by Skytrax (the other 5 are Asiana Airlines from South Korea, Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong, Qatar Airways from Qatar, Singapore Airlines from Singapore and Kingfisher Airlines from India). Malaysia Airlines is also listed among Skytrax's Quality Approved Airlines, alongside fellow 5-star carriers Asiana Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines and Qatar Airways

Contents

History

Malaysia Airlines started its operation on 1987 after the airline changed its name from Malaysian Airline System. It is founded in 1947 by Malayan Airways. Then, it transformed to Malaysian Airways due to Malaysia gaining its independence. After that, it changed its name once more to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines and thereafter ceased its operation. It was then divided into Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

A Airspeed Consul, the first aircraft type operated by Malayan Airways
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Malayan Aviation History

Scheduled air passenger services in Malaya commenced in 1937 when Wearnes Air Services (WAS) commenced operating services between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Wearnes Air Services was started by two Australian brothers, Theodore and Charles Wearnes.[9] The service commenced as a thrice weekly flight between Singapore and Penang The first flight, using an 8-seater de Havilland Dragon Rapide D.H.89A took place on 28 June 1937. This inaugural flight possibly departed from either the older Seletar Airport or the then brand new Kallang Airport. Later a second D.H.89A enabled the expansion to daily services as well as the addition of Ipoh as a destination. The WAS services ceased with the onset of the Second World War Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore.

Beginnings

An initiative[10] by the Alfred Holt's Liverpool-based Ocean Steamship Company, in partnership with the Straits Steamship Company[11] and Imperial Airways, resulted in the incorporation in Singapore on 12 October, 1937, Malayan Airways Limited (MAL). But the first paying passengers could be welcomed on board only some 10 years later. After the war, MAL was restructured to include just the partnership of Straits Steamship and Ocean Steamship. The airline's first flight was a charter flight from the British Straits Settlement of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, on 2 April 1947, using an Airspeed Consul twin-engined aircraft.[12] This inaugural flight on the "Raja Udang"[13], with only five passengers, departed Singapore's Kallang Airport and was bound for Kuala Lumpur's Sungai Besi Airport. Weekly scheduled flights quickly followed from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang from 1 May 1947 with the same aircraft type.[14] The airline continued to expand during the rest of the 1940s and 1950s, as other British Commonwealth airlines (such as BOAC and Qantas Empire Airways) provided technical assistance, as well as assistance in joining IATA. By 1955, Malayan Airways' fleet had grown to include a large number of Douglas DC-3s, and went public in 1957. Other aircraft operated in the first two decades included the Douglas DC-4 Skymaster, the Vickers Viscount, the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, the Bristol Britannia, the De Havilland Comet 4 and the Fokker F27. Over the next few years, the airline expanded rapidly, boosted by post-war air travel demand when flying became more than a privilege for the rich and famous. By 12 April 1960, the airline was operating Douglas DC-3s, Super Constellations and Viscounts on new routes from Singapore to Hong Kong, and from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok via Penang. Flights were also introduced from Singapore to cities in the Borneo Territories, including Brunei, Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu), Kuching, Sandakan and Sibu.

In 1957, the airline became a state-run stock corporation. With the delivery of an 84-seat Bristol Britannia in 1960, the airline launched its first long-haul international flight, to Hong Kong. When Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak formed the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, the airline's name was changed, from "Malayan Airways" to "Malaysian Airlines" (though still abbreviated to MAS). MAS also took over Borneo Airways. In 1966, following Singapore's separation from the federation, the airline's name was changed again, to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). The next year saw a rapid expansion in the airline's fleet and routes, including the purchase of MSA's first Boeing aircraft: the Boeing 707s, as well as completion of a new high-rise headquarters in Singapore. Boeing 737s were added to the fleet soon afterward.

Incorporation

Malayan Airways DC-3

The differing needs of the two shareholders, however, led to the break-up of the airline just 6 years later. The Singapore government preferred to develop the airline's international routes, while the Malaysian government had no choice but to develop the domestic network first before going regional and eventually international. MSA ceased operations in 1972, with its assets split between two new airlines; Malaysian Airline System (MAS)(now Malaysia Airlines),[15] and Singapore Airlines.

With the Singapore government determined to develop Singapore Airlines' international routes, it took the entire fleet of seven Boeing 707s and five Boeing 737s, which would allow it to continue servicing its regional and long-haul international routes. Since most of MSA's international routes were flown out of Singapore, the majority of international routes were in the hands of Singapore Airlines. In addition, MSA's headquarters, which was located in Singapore, became the headquarters of that airline.

The initials MSA were well regarded as an airline icon, and both carriers tried to use them. Malaysian went for MAS by just transposing the last two letters and choosing the name Malaysian Airline System, while Singapore originally proposed the name Mercury Singapore Airlines to keep the MSA initials, but changed its mind and went for SIA instead. Acronyms for airline names later became less fashionable, and both carriers then moved on to their descriptive names.

Expansion

Malaysian Airline System took all domestic routes within Malaysia and international routes out of that country, as well as the remaining fleet of Fokker F27's. It began flights on 1 October 1972. Soon after that, Malaysia Airline System rapidly expanded its services, including introducing long-haul flights from Kuala Lumpur to London.

In the same year, MAS operated flights to more than 34 regional destinations and six international services. In 1976, after receiving its DC-10-30 aircraft, MAS scheduled flights reached Europe, with initial services from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.

An economic boom in Malaysia during the 1980s helped spur growth at Malaysia Airlines. By the end of the decade, MAS was flying to 47 overseas destinations, including eight European destinations, seven Oceania destinations, and the United States destinations of Los Angeles and Honolulu. In 1993, Malaysia Airlines reached South America when the airline received its B747 aircraft. When Malaysia Airlines introduced its service from Kuala Lumpur to South America, MAS became the first and only airline in Southeast Asia to serve South America via its flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malaysia Airlines also flew to Mexico City between 1994 and 1998, taking advantage of fifth-freedom rights which allowed it carry passengers between Mexico City and Los Angeles, enroute to Kuala Lumpur.

First Unprofitability

Prior to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, the airline suffered losses of as much as RM 260 million after earning a record-breaking RM319 million profit in the financial year 1996/1997. The airline then introduced measures to bring its P&L back into the black. For the financial year 1999/2000, the airline cut its losses from RM700 million in the year 1998/1999 to RM259 million. However, the airline plunged into further losses in the following year, amounting to RM417 million in FY2000/2001 and RM836 million in FY2001/2002. With these losses, the airline cut many unprofitable routes, such as Brussels, Darwin, Honolulu, Madrid, Munich and Vancouver.

The airline recovered from its losses in the year 2002/2003. It achieved its then-highest profit in the year 2003/2004, totaling RM461 million.

Second unprofitability

Regional services flown by Fokker F50s, such as this one, were once operated at a substantial loss.

In the year 2005, Malaysia Airlines reported a loss of RM1.3 billion. Revenue for the financial period was up by 10.3% or RM826.9 million, compared to the same period for 2004, driven by a 10.2% growth in passenger traffic. International passenger revenue increased by RM457.6 million or 8.4%, to RM5.9 billion, while cargo revenue decreased by RM64.1 million or 4.2%, to RM1.5 billion. Costs increased by 28.8% or RM2.3 billion, amounting to a total of RM 10.3 billion, primarily due to escalating fuel prices. Other cost increases included staff costs, handling and landing fees, aircraft maintenance and overhaul charges, Widespread Assets Unbundling (WAU) charges and leases.[16].

The Government of Malaysia appointed Idris Jala as the new CEO on 1 December 2005, to execute changes in operations and corporate culture. Several weaknesses in airline operations were identified as the causes of the RM1.3 billion loss. These included esclating fuel prices, increased maintenance and repair costs, staff costs, low yield per available seat kilometre ("ASK") via poor yield management and an inefficient route network. Under the leadership of Idris Jala, Malaysia Airlines launched its Business Turnaround Plan in 2006, developed using the Government-linked company (GLC) Transformation Manual as a guide.

The most substantial factor in the losses was fuel costs. For the period, the total fuel cost was RM3.5 billion, representing a 40.4% increase compared to the same period in 2004. Total fuel cost increases comprised RM977.8 million due to higher fuel prices and another RM157.6[16] million due to additional consumption. In the third quarter, fuel costs were RM1.26 billion, compared to the RM1.01 billion in the corresponding period in 2004, resulting in a 24.6% increase or RM249.3 million.[16]

Another factor for the losses was high operating costs. MAS substantially lagged its peers on yield. Some of this gap is due to differences in traffic mix,[17](less business traffic to and from Malaysia than to and from Singapore), but much of it was due to weaknesses in pricing and revenue management, sales and distribution, brand presence in foreign markets, and alliance base. Malaysia Airlines has one of the lowest labour costs per ASK at USD0.41, compared to other airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines at USD0.59 and USD0.60[17] respectively. However, despite its low labour cost, the ratio of ASK revenue (millions) to this cost was, at 2.8, much lower than Singapore Airlines, where the ratio is 5.0, and slightly higher than Thai International Airways[17]

There are other factors listed in the Business Turnaround Plan of Malaysia Airlines, all leading to the net loss of RM1.3 billion in the year 2005.

Recovery from unprofitability

Under the various initiatives, launched together with the Business Turnaround Plan, Malaysia Airlines turned losses into profits between FY2006 and FY2007. When the Business Turnaround Plan came to an end, the airline posted a record profit of 851 million Ringgit (265 million dollars) in 2007, ending a series of losses since 2005. The result exceeded the target of RM300 Million by 184%.[18].

Among the initiatives that turned losses back into profit, route rationalising was one of the major contributors. Malaysia Airlines pared its domestic routes from 114 to 22, and also cancelled virtually all unprofitable international routes (such as Kuala Lumpur-Manchester, that required a 140% load factor to break even). Apart from that, Malaysia Airlines also rescheduled all of its flight timings and changed its operations model from point to point services to hub and spoke services.

Additionally, the airline started Project Omega and Project Alpha to improve the company's network and revenue management. Emphasis has been placed on six areas: pricing, revenue management, network scheduling, opening storefronts, low season strategy and distribution management.

Malaysia Airlines has been involved in discussions for new aircraft purchases, using its cash surplus of 5.3 billion Ringgit to eventually purchase 55 narrow-body aircraft and 55 wide-body aircraft.[19].

Despite all these achievements, the airline is still frequently the target of critics who often deride the carrier is lagging behind their competitors in the region. This notion is not helped by the fact Malaysia Airlines has not made substantial investments in customer service, especially compared to Thai Airways or Singapore Airlines.

On 22 December 2009, MAS announced the purchase of 15 new Airbus A330 aircraft, with options for another 10. Expected to be delivered between 2011 and 2016, they are intended to operate on medium-haul routes to eastern Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. The airline's plans are to run Airbus A380 planes, which will be introduced into service in 2011, on long-haul routes, A330s on medium-haul routes, and Boeing 737 aircraft on short-haul routes. Under this plan, it is unclear where Boeing wide-bodies currently in the fleet would fall.[20]

Everyday Low Fares

Malaysia Airlines took an unprecedented move with its “Everyday Low Fares” (ELF) programme on 6 May 2008 which offers 1.3 million RM 0 for all domestic routes operated by Malaysia Airlines and Firefly.[21] According to the managing director of Malaysia Airlines, Datuk Seri Idris Jala the Everyday Low Fares programme will create new demand for people who do not fly with Malaysia Airlines.[22]

The Everyday Low Fares programme offers a maximum of 30% of the total seats on every flight which are unsold due to the average load factor of 70% on each flight. Thus, Malaysia Airlines is generating income for the airline through fuel surcharge, administrative fee and airport tax.[23] By 14 May 2008, Malaysia Airlines has sold more than 150,000 seats since the launch of the programme and 50,000 tickets has been sold in the first two days.[24]. Malaysia Airlines is also extending the programme to all ASEAN routes operated by Malaysia Airlines (except Yangon).[25]

However, the Everyday Low Fares programme launched by Malaysia Airlines has been strongly opposed by Asia's largest low cost carrier, AirAsia which claims that Malaysia Airlines is competing directly with AirAsia's business model but at the same time not allowing the budget carrier to compete against the national airline.[26]

Corporate information

Malaysia Airlines is listed on the stock exchange of Bursa Malaysia under the name Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MYX: 3786). The airline suffered high losses over the years due to poor management and fuel price increases. As a result of financial restructuring (Widespread Asset Unbundling) [16] in 2002, led by BinaFikir, Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad became its parent company, incorporated in 2002, in exchange for assuming the airline's long-term liabilities. On the operational side, the Government of Malaysia appointed Idris Jala as the new CEO on 1 December 2005, to execute changes in operations and corporate culture. Under his leadership, Malaysia Airlines unveiled its Business Turnaround Plan (BTP) in February, 2006, which highlighted low yield, an inefficient network and low productivity (overstaffing). The airline headquarters building in downtown Kuala Lumpur was sold. The new corporate headquarters is now at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Petaling.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH138 docked at Adelaide Airport awaiting departure

Following the Widespread Asset Unbundling (WAU) restructuring of Malaysia Airlines, Malaysian Government investment arm and holding company, Khazanah Nasional's subsidiary, Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad[27] is the majority shareholder with a 52.0% stake.[27] After Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad, the second-largest shareholder is Khazanah Nasional, which holds 17.33% of the shares. Minority shareholders include Employees Provident Fund Board (10.72%), Amanah Raya Nominees (Tempatan) Sdn Bhd (5.69%), State Financial Secretary Sarawak (2.71%), foreign shareholders (5.13%)[27] and Warisan Harta Sabah (2.4%). It has 19,546 employees (as of March, 2007).[28]. Malaysia Government has been reporting that the government's holding company, Khazanah Nasional is keen on selling shares of Malaysia Airlines to remain globally competitive in an industry which is fast-consolidating.[4]

Subsidiaries

Malaysia Airlines has diversified in to related industries and sectors, including aircraft ground handling, aircraft leasing, aviation engineering, air catering, and tour operator operations. It has also restructured itself by spinning-off operational units as fully-owned subsidiaries, to maintain its core business as a passenger airline. Malaysia Airlines has over 20 subsidiaries, with 13 of them fully owned by Malaysia Airlines.[29]

Some of the subsidiaries include:

Company Type Principal activities Incorporated in Group's Equity Shareholding
Malaysia Airlines Cargo Sdn. Bhd Subsidiary Cargo Malaysia 100%
GE Engine Services Malaysia Joint Venture Engine Overhaul Malaysia 30%
MASWings Sdn. Bhd. Subsidiary Airline Malaysia 100%
Firefly Sdn. Bhd. Subsidiary Airline Malaysia 100%
MAS Aerotechnologies Sdn Bhd Subsidiary MRO Malaysia 100%
MAS Golden Holidays Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Tour operator Malaysia 100%
Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Engineering Malaysia 100%
MAS Academy Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Flight school Malaysia 100%
Abacus Distribution Systems (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Computer reservation system Malaysia 80%
Taj Madras Air Catering Limited Associate Catering India 20%
MAS Catering (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Catering Sarawak 60%
LSG Sky Chefs Associate Holding company Malaysia 30%

Financial Highlights

Malaysia Airlines experienced its worst lost in FY2005, with RM1.25 billion losses. Since then, the Business Turnaround Plan was introduced to revive the airline, in the year 2006. At the end of the airline's turnaround program, in financial year 2007, Malaysia Airlines gained RM851 million net profit: a swing of RM987 million compared to RM134 million in losses in FY2006, marking the national carrier’s highest-ever profit in its 60-year history. The achievement was recognised as the world’s best airline-turnaround story in 2007, with Malaysia Airlines being awarded the Phoenix award by Penton Media's Air Transport World: the leading monthly magazine covering the global airline industry.[30]

Malaysia Airlines Financial Highlights.[31]
Year ended/(Quarter Ended) Revenue
(RM '000)
Expenditure
(RM '000)
Profit/(Loss)
after Tax (RM '000)
Shareholders
Fund (RM '000)
EPS after tax
(cents)
31 December 2002 8,864,385 8,872,391 336,531 2,562,841 38.7
31 December 2003 8,780,820 8,591,157 461,143 3,023,984 36.8
31 December 2004 11,364,309 11,046,764 326,07 3,318,732 26.0
31 December 2005 9,181,338 10,434,634 (1,251,603) 2,009,857 (100.20)
31 December 2006 13,489,549 13,841,607 (133,737) 1,873,452 (10.90)
31 December 2007 15,288,640 14,460,299 852,743 3,934,893 58.05
31 December 2008 15,503,714 15,259,027 245,697 4,186,000 14.62
31 December 2009 12,782,086 12,288,980 493,106 747,596 28.64

Branding

Malaysia Airlines' branding and publicity efforts have revolved primarily around flight crew, unlike most other airlines which tend to emphasise aircraft and an extensive route network. Malaysia Airlines uses its flight attendants to promote the airline. This branding strategy seeks to portray cabin crews of Malaysia Airlines as representative of Malaysian hospitality and friendliness.[32] During the late 1990s to year 2007, Malaysia Airlines has been using the Going Beyond Expectations slogan to brand itself internationally by heavily promoting its service excellence. With the rollout of the Business Transformation Plan in 2008[33], the CEO of Malaysia Airlines rejected the idea of using MH's network or certain other features as its new branding strategy.[34] Instead, the new branding strategy slogan is MH is Malaysian Hospitality, to emphasise the hospitality of its cabin crew instead of the airline's extensive network and its premium cabin and economy class cabin products.

The airline runs a training program for cabin and flight crew to ensure that the Malaysia Airlines brand experience is delivered correctly. The airline's repute, and the resulting prestige of the job, has allowed it to be highly selective during its recruitment process. Of every thousand candidates who go for interviews, only 50 or 60 are chosen.[34]

Corporate image

Malaysia Airlines introduced Sarong Kebaya design on 1 March 1986[35] for female flight attendants. It was designed by the School of Fashion at Mara Institute of Technology (Malay: Institut Teknologi Mara) and later known as Mara University of Technology (Malay: Universiti Teknologi Mara). The batik material depicts the kelarai motif, which is a bamboo weave pattern. It appears in the background in subdued hues of the basic uniform colour. Superimposed on the kelarai motif is a mixture of Malaysian flora, such as the cempaka, jasmine and the leaves of the hibiscus. The geometric Sarawakian motif is used for the lapels of the baju, edges of sleeves and the sarong. On 1 January 1993, the colours of the batik were enhanced to complement the colour of the new uniform. The male flight attendants wear Ottanio colour jackets.[32] The uniforms of the Singapore Girls (stewardesses of Singapore Airlines) are similar to Malaysia Airlines' female flight attendants uniform.

Malaysia Airlines Flight Crew
Colour Code of female flight attendants
  • Sarong Kebaya with yellow flowers with red background are for the Inflight Supervisors
  • Sarong Kebaya with blue flowers are for the Chief Stewardesses, Leading Stewardesses and Flight Stewardesses
  • Sarong Kebaya with magenta flowers are for the ground frontliners
Colour Code of male flight attendants
  • Dark shade Ottanio colour jackets are for Inflight Supervisors, Chief Stewards, Leading Stewards and Flight Stewards
  • Light shade Ottanio colour jackets are for male ground frontliners

Malaysia Airlines logos since inception in 1947

The history of the airline started in 1937, when Malayan Airways Limited was registered as a company. Flying operations started in 1947, with the aircraft bearing the symbol of a winged tiger. In 1963, the airline was renamed Malaysian Airways Limited, when the Federation of Malaysia was formed. Subsequently, Borneo Airways Limited was absorbed by Malaysian Airways Limited. In 1965, with the political separation of Singapore from Malaysia, there was continued participation by the governments of Malaysia and Singapore in the airline. In 1967, the company changed its name to Malaysia-Singapore Airline Limited (MSA), which was the joint national air carrier for both countries, and a new logo was introduced.

In 1971, Malaysia-Singapore Airline Limited was separated into two airlines, each with its own policies and objectives, leading to the birth of Malaysia's flag carrier, Malaysian Airline System (MAS), on 3 April 1971. The name was chosen because, in abbreviated form, MAS (as in EMAS) in Malay means gold, to symbolise quality service.

A new corporate logo designed by Mara Institute of Technology (Malay: Institut Teknologi Mara) later known as Mara University of Technology (Malay: Universiti Teknologi Mara) was introduced on 15 October 1987, retaining the essence of the moon kite, with a sheared swept-back look. Along with the new corporate logo, a new type style - MALAYSIA, was created. It is italicised to slant parallel with the logo to accentuate speed as well as direction. Within this corporate typestyle, the letters MAS bear red clippings to denote the initials of the statutory name of the airline, Malaysian Airline System (MAS), and were added after the original design was rejected by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir. The introduction of blue to the original red logo has national significance. The red and blue divides equally in the middle to denote equilibrium.

Destinations

Before the introduction of the Business Turnaround Plan, Malaysia Airlines operated 118 domestic routes within Malaysia and 114 international routes across six continents.[17]. Malaysia Airlines now flies to 87 destinations across six continents from its primary hub in Kuala Lumpur. It has a particularly strong presence in the Southeast Asia region, which, together with its subsidiary MASWings and Firefly, connects Kuala Lumpur to the most destinations in Borneo Island. Apart from that, the airline has a key role in the Kangaroo Route, on which the airline provides onward connecting flights from main European gateways to major Australian and New Zealand gateways via Kuala Lumpur International Airport, within 5 hours. Malaysia Airlines also operates transpacific flights from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles International Airport via Taipei. Transatlantic flights from Kuala Lumpur to Newark Liberty International Airport via Stockholm-Arlanda Airport ended October 2009 due to poor passenger loads.

Under the Business Turnaround Plan, numerous routes had been axed and frequencies reduced. As of September, 2007, Malaysia Airlines flies to 88 destinations. In cooperation with code-share partner airlines, the airline serves more than one hundred destinations worldwide. It was the first airline in Southeast Asia to fly to South Africa, following the demise of apartheid, and the only airline in southeast Asia that serves South America (Buenos Aires via Cape Town and Johannesburg). In 2006, it suspended its routes to Manchester, Vienna, Fukuoka, Chengdu, Nagoya, Xi'an, Cairo, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Zürich under its Business Turnaround Plan. Beginning in 2008, the airline operates new destinations, with Macau and Yogyakarta being the latest additions to its list of destinations. In January 2009, it was reported by the media that Malaysia Airlines would resume flights to Darwin, Australia during the Dry Season. On 10 March 2009, Chinese media reported that an official from the Malaysia Airlines office in Hong Kong told the media that it will suspend the Macau-Kuala Lumpur route by the end of March 2009. [3]

Malaysia Airlines also owns its own charter flight division. Malaysia Airlines' charter flights have flown to destinations around the world, such as Guilin, which was previously one of Malaysia Airlines' scheduled destinations, and Christmas Island. Malaysia Airlines has also been the official airline for the Manchester United Asian Tour [36] It also has a substantial Hajj operation.

Travelling with Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines operates a fleet of aircraft with two-cabin and three-cabin configurations. The B777-200 fleet has a two-cabin configuration, with Golden Club Class and Economy Class. The B747-400 fleet has a three-cabin configuration, also including First Class. The A330-300, A330-200 and B737-400 aircraft have a two-cabin configuration. Malaysia Airlines' premium cabins and Economy Class have won numerous awards for excellence in product and service delivery[37].

Ground Service

Passengers may check-in between 2 and 48 hours prior to flight departure. This may be done at the counter, or at the premium-classes Golden Lounge within the airport. Self-service kiosks (CUSS) are also available at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Alternatively, passengers may check in at KL Sentral City Air Terminal, through the internet or by phone. Online printing of boarding passes is available through internet check-in. Passengers on short trips may also check-in for their return flight upon departure from the city of origin.

Airport Lounge

Malaysia Airlines' Golden Lounge

The Golden Lounge is the airport lounge for Malaysia Airlines First Class, Golden Club Class passengers and Enrich Platinum and Enrich Gold members. The clubs all have open bars and food catering. There are 14 lounges throughout the world, and qualified passengers have full reciprocal privileges at lounges operated by selected partners. The lounge offers various services such as business centres, food catering, slumber rooms and child-care centres[38].

Lounges are maintained at the following airports:

  • Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Langkawi, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Penang, Perth, Singapore and Sydney.

Previously, Golden Lounges are available in Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi and Frankfurt The exclusive lounge offers facilities such as a business centre, wireless Internet connection, manicure and pedicure, massage and shoe shine services, surau, showers, and food and beverage. At 400 sq m , it is the biggest domestic Golden Lounge in Malaysia apart from KL International Airport. It is 15% bigger than the old lounge, offering passengers more comfort and space.

In April 2008, the airline launched its new Regional Golden Lounge at the KL International Airport (KLIA) for regional-bound first and business class passengers.

The lounge design is based on the Rimba concept with visions of lush foliage, pristine forested valleys and perfect serenity, creating a quiet heaven for customers. The RM4mil Regional Lounge was made to match the standard of the award-winning KLIA and is the latest lounge to be opened by Malaysia Airlines.

The lounge is located about 10 minutes to the departure gates, accommodates up to 190 passengers and offers a wide array of services and facilities including spa service, reflexology, manicure and pedicure, children’s area, Muslim prayer room, Internet services, hot and cold food and full bar services.

It is open from 5am to 2am daily and both Enrich Platinum and Gold Members have access to the lounge regardless of their class of travel. Enrich Silver members can gain access to the lounge when they opt for the Golden Lounge Privilege programme or redeem their Enrich Miles on per-entrance basis. Also, economy class passengers onboard any Malaysia Airlines domestic flight with booking fare 'Y' or under MHflex can access the lounge and the other domestic lounge at KLIA with a fee of RM100.

With this new lounge, Malaysia Airlines at KLIA now has three lounges: the Satellite Lounge, Domestic Lounge and the Regional Lounge.

Cabin

First Class

The newer version of First Class was introduced in 2005, and is only available on the Boeing 747-400, with 12 seats. It features a 180-degree lie-flat seat with a pitch of 80 inches (200 cm) and a width of 28 inches (71 cm) with double drop down arm. The passenger can choose from a variety of positions at the touch of a button. The seat also doubles as a visitor’s seat. There is a 115V AC power outlet for a notebook or other electronic devices, a 15-inch LCD touch-screen monitor for Select 3000i that can be stowed away when not in use, and a personal controller unit. Amenity kits and a turn-down seat service are available on all flights, where the cabin crew will transform the seat into a bed. First Class cabins are fitted with a mood lighting system, synchronised with the time and duration of the journey, which enables passengers to better-adjust to the destination's time zone, reducing the effects of jet lag.

New business class

Golden Club Class

Business Class or Golden Club Class is available on all of Malaysia Airlines' fleet. The newer business class, introduced in 2005, can only be found on Boeing 747-400s, which has 41 seats, and the Boeing 777-200, which has 35 seats. It features a 180-degree angled-flat bed seat, with a pitch of 58" on the Boeing 747 and Boeing 777. The seat has a width of 23.5" with a single drop down arm, with an electronic controller that can create a variety of positions at the touch of a button and a 4-way adjustable lumbar support. There is a 10.4-inch LCD touch screen monitor, a personal controller unit and a 115V AC power outlet for other devices. Golden Club Class cabins are also fitted with a mood lighting system, synchronised with the time and duration of the journey, which enables passengers to better-adjust to the destination's time zone, reducing the effects of jet lag. Regional Business Class seats are offered on the Airbus A330 aircraft, featuring reclining seats and footrests. Passengers may enjoy selected movies, news and documentaries through the Portable Media Player (PMP) for flights 3 hours and above. On certain routes (below 3 hours) Inflight entertainment is offered through the Mainscreen.

Economy Class

Malaysia Airlines Economy Class Seat Details

Economy Class is available on all of Malaysia Airlines' fleet. Seats feature a pitch of 33-34 inches and width of 18-19 inches, with footrests and lumbar support (except on B737-400s). On the Airbus A330-200, Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-200, it offers a 6.5" personal TV located behind each seat, and a footrest located below the seat in front, while the Airbus A330-300 offers audio plus a movie that all passengers can view on overhead LCD screens. The Boeing 737-400 has a standard Economy seat. Two (or rarely three) choices of meals will be served to passengers on medium and long-haul flights, while meal boxes will be served to passengers on certain short-haul flights. Orange juice, mineral water, coffee and tea are the usual choices of beverages. Beer, wine and other beverages are also available, but only on international flights.

In-flight entertainment

Select is the in-flight entertainment system of Malaysia Airlines. There are three types of Select: Select 3000i, Select 3000i Portable Media Player and Select Mainscreen. However, the Boeing 737-400 does not have Select Mainscreen or either version of Select 3000i, and does not offer audio video on demand.

Select 3000i
All Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 747-400 aircraft are equipped with next generation Inflight entertainment system, Select 3000i. Passengers can choose from over 500 hours of audio and video programming. With 200 music CD's and 50 on-demand movies and television shows available, passengers can start, stop, forward and rewind their selected program at will. A touch-screen personal TV is available for First Class and Golden Club Class (Business Class) passengers on board Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Apart from offering programs in 14 languages, Select 3000i also offers language lessons in 22 languages.[39] Malaysia Airlines A330-200 aircraft are fitted with personal television screens at every seat in both economy class and Golden Club Class but does not feature Audio Video on Demand in economy class.
Select 3000i Portable Media Player
Select 3000i Portable Media Player
The Select 3000i Portable Media Player is provided to Malaysia Airlines' Business Class passengers on selected regional and semi-long-haul A330-300 aircraft on North and South Asia routes. It allows passengers a choice of movies, TV shows and sports.[40]
Select Mainscreen
Used in Economy Class on A330-300 widebody regional and semi-long-haul aircraft which features 15-inch dropdown retractable LCD screens are installed at every 4th seat row in the economy class zone of the aircraft.

Fleet

The Malaysia Airlines passenger fleet consists of the following aircraft:[41][42][43]

Malaysia Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Options Passengers Notes
Airbus A330-200 3 0 0 229 (-/42/187)
Airbus A330-300 11 15 10 294 (-/44/250)
298 (-/44/254)
302 (-/42/260)
1 will go to Brussels Airlines on 10 March
Airbus A380-800 0 6 0 510[44] Entry into service: 2011
Boeing 737-400 36 0 0 144 (-/16/128) Exit from service: 2014
Boeing 737-800 3 35 20 152 (-/16/136) Entry into service: 2010
Boeing 747-400 13 0 0 359 (12/41/306)
Boeing 777-200ER 17 0 0 282 (-/35/247)
Total 84 56 30

The average fleet age of Malaysia Airlines is (November 2009) 13.4 years.[45]

The Malaysia Airlines cargo fleet consists of the following aircraft:[41]

Malaysia Airlines Cargo fleet
Aircraft Total Capacity
Airbus A300-600RF 1 42,000 kg
Boeing 747-200F 4 100,000 kg
Boeing 747-400F 2 120,000 kg

Frequent flyer programs

Malaysia Airlines has two frequent flyer programs: Grads for Students by Malaysia Airlines (Grads) and Enrich by Malaysia Airlines (Enrich). Grads is a frequent flyer program with benefits designed for students. Enrich by Malaysia Airlines is a frequent flyer program for frequent travellers that comprises a variety of airlines, banks, credit-card issuers, hotels and lifestyle retailers around the world.

Enrich by Malaysia Airlines

MalaysiaAirlinesLogo Enrich.png

On 30 September 1987, Malaysian Airline System introduced the Esteemed Traveller frequent flyer program. In the early 1990s, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Thai Airways International and Singapore Airlines launched their joint Asian frequent flyer program: Passages. The joint program was officially dissolved in 1999, and the Enrich frequent flyer program made its debut after the split from Passages.

Enhanced Enrich
On 12 July 2006, Malaysia Airlines introduced its enhanced Enrich frequent flyer program. The program is now known as Enrich by Malaysia Airlines (Enrich), modelled after its more successful frequent flyer program Grads for Students by Malaysia Airlines. One of the enhancements in the program was the introduction of the Enrich Silver membership, which focuses on economy class travellers, while retaining the other memberships: Enrich Blue, Enrich Gold and Enrich Platinum.
Member
Enrich's membership of one million is spread over 240 countries, with the largest number in Malaysia at about 60%, followed by Australia (14%), Singapore, Britain and the US. Enrich membership numbers have been growing at an average of 23 percent per year, well above the industry’s average of 18 percent. Enrich members earned a total of 2.5 billion miles in 2005.
Benefits
There are four levels of Enrich memberships, each offering privileges including priority check-in, priority standby and extra baggage allowance, amongst others. Miles can be accrued on qualifying Malaysia Airlines services, as well through partners, including airlines, hotels, car rental agencies and credit-card companies. Miles accrued by members allow for redemption for free travel, free upgrades and other complimentary services.
Partners
Members of Enrich are able to accrue miles on qualifying flights/stays on the Enrich Partners such as[46]:
  • For Kuala Lumpur-Seoul route operated by Korean Air and Malaysia Airlines (code sharing), passengers can also earn miles even when flying with Korean Air.

Non-airline partners include:

Grads

Grads for Students
GRADS is Malaysia Airlines' frequent flyer program for students above 12 years old. The program enables students holding the membership card to enjoy benefits from Malaysia Airlines and partners' merchant outlets.
Benefits[49]
Students holding GRADS membership card are entitled for discounted airfare (such as 50% off domestic airfare) and discounts on partners' merchant outlets. GRADS members are also automatically enrolled for Enrich membership.

Partnerships and Code Share Agreements

Malaysia Airlines has code-sharing partnerships with 25 airlines, including four from SkyTeam, two from Oneworld and seven from Star Alliance.[50]

Under the revised Business Transformation Plan unveiled in January 2008, Malaysia Airlines has embarked on a plan to form a network that resembles an alliance without joining an alliance. The airline requested to join the SkyTeam alliance in 2006 [51], but there is still no outcome from the discussions. Malaysia Airlines signed code-share agreements with Alitalia in Italy and China Southern Airlines in China, both of which are members of SkyTeam, in 2007.[52]

Therefore, instead of waiting to join SkyTeam, Malaysia Airlines launched Project MOSAIC together with the new Business Turnaround Plan for the period until 2012. MOSAIC stands for ‘MAS Overall Strategic Alliance Integration Concept’, to reap the maximum value from Malaysia Airlines' present hub-and-spoke network.[33] The MOSAIC Project’s scope includes identifying high-value code-share partners and Special Pro-Rate Agreement (SPA) partners, increasing agreements with partner airlines, discontinuing non-beneficial code-share partners and optimising flight connections.


Malaysia Airline’s codeshare partners as of March 2008 are:

Historical flights

  • 1-2 April 1997 - A Boeing 777-2H6 ER (N5107V, now 9M-MRA) broke a world record by flying a round the world with the route of Seattle - Kuala Lumpur - Seattle. The aircraft was only being tested before its delivery flight. First the aircraft flew from Seattle to KL passing Europe and Africa. Then it arrives with only kilograms of fuel. After being refueled it takes off to Seattle by flying around Oceania. More than four weeks later, the aircraft was delivered.[citation needed]

Accidents and incidents

Malaysia Airlines is accredited by IATA with the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit).

There have been two accidents involving passenger fatalities on Malaysia Airlines, with a total of 134 fatalities:

  • 15 September 1995 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 2133, a Fokker 50 (9M-MGH) crashed during approach in Tawau, Sabah due to wind shear. 34 people were killed.

Other, non-fatal incidents

  • 18 December 1983 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 684, an Airbus A300B4 (OY-KAA) leased from Scandinavian Airlines crashed 2 km short of the runway in Subang on a flight from Singapore. There were no fatalities, but the aircraft was written-off.
  • 15 March 2000 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 85, an Airbus A330-300 (9M-MKB) was damaged by a chemical called oxalyl chloride, which leaked from canisters when unloading, causing damage to the fuselage when arrived at KLIA from Beijing. The 5-year-old Airbus was sufficiently damaged to be written-off.
  • 30 November 2003 - A cable in a Boeing 777-200ER that allows pilots to turn the plane on the ground had snapped before the Bombay-bound jet was to take off. The incident came just months (2004) after several wires on an Airbus A330-300 bound for Australia were found to have been cut shortly before take-off. Three of the airline's staff were arrested and later released over what a spokesman described as an act of vandalism, not sabotage.[57] The government and police regarded both incidents as sabotage.
  • 1 August 2005 - A Boeing 777-2H6ER as Malaysia Airlines flight 124 departed Perth for Kuala Lumpur. Climbing through 38,000 feet a faulty accelerometer caused the aircraft's Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) to command changes of altitude. The flight crew overrode the ADIRU and manually returned to land the aircraft at Perth. Subsequent ATSB investigation led the US FAA to issue emergency airworthiness directive 2005-18-51 on the fly-by-wire software.[58]
  • 3 November 2006 - A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-2H6ER departed Stockholm bound for Kuala Lumpur. During takeoff, part of the left hand engine disintegrated shedding debris onto the runway [59] and forcing the pilot to request a fuel dump and return to the airport.[60]
  • 2 October 2009 - Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-4H6 9M-MMR was substantially damaged when the port main undercarriage collapsed while the aircraft was parked at the gate at Kuching Airport.[61]

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  39. ^ LESSONS IN FLIGHTAround the World
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  46. ^ [1]
  47. ^ [2]
  48. ^ Virgin Blue (DJ) now joins Malaysia Airlines, Enrich Loyalty programme.
  49. ^ Grads for Students Benefits
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  57. ^ Wires of B777 cut off
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