Business

MAS now confirms alliance, A380 arrival

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) confirmed today it would proceed to join the oneworld alliance by the middle of 2012 and will review its product offerings in the new A380 and A330 to ensure “best in class” service as part of its drive to be a premium airline.

The loss-making airline said it “is hopeful that the oneworld alliance membership can materialise within the first half of next year, and would coincide with the introduction into service of its flagship A380 aircraft” in response to The Malaysian Insider’s report on August 23 that it was considering delaying both due to cost issues.

“Today, MAS remains focused in joining the oneworld alliance, following the formal invitation to join oneworld on June 6, 2011. The airline is currently working diligently to meet the alliance requirements, to ensure that it becomes a full member soonest possible, subject to the relevant regulatory approvals being obtained,” it said in a statement, which did not give a reason for a delayed explanation.

MAS has ordered six A380s but their arrival has been delayed three times from 2008 to April 2012 now. The airline recorded a first half loss of RM769 million for 2011 and does not expect to make a profit this year despite a new management.

It is looking for a new chief executive officer after Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin resigned on August 9 in the aftermath of a share swap that saw AirAsia’s biggest shareholder, TuneAir Sdn Bhd, swapping 10 per cent of its stock in Asia’s biggest budget carrier for 20.5 per cent of MAS.

AirAsia’s bosses Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun have now joined the MAS board and an executive committee headed by its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Nor Mohd Yusof to stop the carrier from bleeding more red ink by positioning it as a premium airline.

“MAS is also reviewing its product offering on its new long-haul aircraft deliveries, especially the wide-body A380 and A330 aircrafts to ensure its products are ‘best-in-class’.

“With the combination of oneworld membership, ‘best-in-class’ product and the airline’s world renowned service standards, MAS is confident that revenues and yields would improve, and that 2012 would see a positive turnaround for the airlines finances,” the airline said in the statement.

It also said MAS’ “impending oneworld membership will also lead to easier transfers, code-shares, joint ventures and greater route access amongst alliance partners, as well as benefit passengers in terms of miles points, lounge and other rewards”.

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