Monday, January 09, 2006

Malaysia Airlines.


The beginning

Malaysia Airlines' humble origins began in the golden age of travel. A joint initiative of the Ocean Steamship Company of Liverpool, the Straits Steamship Company of Singapore and Imperial Airways led to a proposal to the government of the Colonial Straits Settlement to run an air service between Penang and Singapore. The result was the incorporation of Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) on October 12, 1937.

On April 2, 1947, the first fare paying passengers boarded an MAL Airspeed Consul plane in Singapore that was bound for Kuala Lumpur. By the end of 1947, Malayan Airways had engaged in an expansion exercise to cater to the growing needs of a growing nation. Within three months, MAL broke the borders of domestic service to offer flights to Jakarta, Medan, Palembang and Saigon. A dynamic team of visionaries saw the need for expansion for such a young airline. The era of international travel was coming to Asia and MAL was to be a pioneer in providing regional flight services.

Then, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC - now British Airways), a technology pioneer and a majority shareholder of MAL, provided technical services such as repairs, spares and training, even initiating training for local crew members in the United Kingdom. The presence of BOAC also facilitated MAL's entry as a member of IATA.

Meeting the needs of regional travel also meant expanding the fleet and providing for passenger comfort. Services on the five-seater Airspeed Consul were further enhanced by the acquisition of a 21-seater DC3. The DC3 also heralded the advent of in-flight service in MAL.

A year after the Independence of Malaya in 1957, MAL took the next step in becoming part of the new corporate scene in Malaysia. The participation of BOAC, QANTAS, the government of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore and the Territory of North Borneo launched MAL as a public limited company.

By 1958, the resources that were accumulated from being a public corporation allowed MAL to acquire five more Beaver aircraft and a new Douglas DC4 Skymaster, which went on to pioneer a route to Hong Kong. This was MAL's first flight beyond Southeast Asia.

The process of fleet expansion followed in 1959 when MAL entered the jet age with the purchase of the Vickers Viscount aircraft. The jet age brought about speed and new levels of comfort for travellers. By 1960, MAL had taken possession of a Lockheed Super Constellation, which propelled MAL into other far-flung regions of Asia.

The acquisition of an 82-seater Briston Britania in 1960 made mass transport by air a reality. This led to the first international non-stop service for MAL, which operated directly between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.


The sixties was a period of change for the world and for MAL. The formation of Malaysia in 1963 was the catalyst for our company to change its name to Malaysian Airlines Limited (MAL). The formation of a new nation also saw the need for MAL as a national carrier to integrate and connect the far corners of Malaysia.

The governments of Borneo and the Peninsular saw a need for more integration of the nation's transport system. This led to the amalgamation of Borneo Airways with MAL that same year. This resulted in closer ties being forged, and also further fleet expansion with the acquisition of five F27 aircraft.

In 1966, following Singapore's independence, the Governments of Malaysia and Singapore became the majority shareholders in the national carrier. Within 20 years, MAL had grown from a single aircraft operator into a company with 2,400 employees and a fleet operator using the latest Comet IV jet aircraft, six F27s, eight DCs and two Twin Pioneers. In 1967, a new branding exercise saw MAL changing its name to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). That proved to be a watershed year -- apart from expanding its international routes to Manila, Perth, Sydney and Taipei, MSA also took delivery of three pioneering Boeing 707s and two F27s to service these new routes and finally set up its new corporate headquarters in Robinson Road, Singapore.

In the late 1960s, MSA strove to keep expanding its reach to even more destinations. MSA made its first flight to Tokyo in 1968 and started serving the route to Bali in 1969. Within a year, Madras and Colombo were also added to the list of international destinations catered to by MSA.

In 1971, the partnership between Malaysia and Singapore was dissolved and Malaysia Airlines Berhad & Singapore Airlines was incorporated in April that same year. With an authorised capital of RM100 million, the company made a final revision to its name in November 1971 and Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS) was born. The Singaporean Government wanted to develop its international operations, while Malaysia wanted the airline to first focus on domestic and regional growth before finally becoming fully international. The airline needs of the two countries were not compatible. When MSA was split up, the assets of the former MSA were divided unequally, though Singapore was made to pay for substantial amount of the imbalance. Singapore Airlines kept all the Boeing 737s and 707s, all international routes out of Singapore and MSA's high rise headquarters in Singapore. MAS was left with only a handful of Fokker F27s, domestic Malaysian routes, and international routes out of Malaysia, beginning service on those routes on October 1, 1972.


By 1972, Malaysian Airline System was already servicing 34 domestic routes and six international destinations. In November 1972, Malaysian Airline System became a member of the Orient Airlines Association (OAA) (now called Association of Asia Pacific Airlines) after the 13th Presidential Assembly of the OAA in Sydney, Australia.

By May 1973, the company's rapid growth saw it carrying its one millionth passenger and, bolstered by development in air travel, Malaysian Airline System carried its two millionth passenger by the end of that year. Due to the early forces of globalisation, Malaysian Airline System started to service even more international routes. Popular business destinations including Tokyo, London, Madras, Manila and Sydney were soon introduced while services were added to Amman, Hat Yai, Jeddah, Perth and Taipei. In 1975, the in-flight magazine, Wings of Gold, made its debut on all Malaysian Airline System services.

In 1976, Malaysian Airline System entered the information age with the computerisation of its whole operation. The delivery of its first wide-bodied DC10 aircraft allowed Malaysian Airline System to offer new and exciting international destinations. The expansion of the European sector opened a corridor for Malaysian Airline System -- with new services to Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris, the passage to the East offered travellers and tourists a new dimension in travel.

In the 1980s, Malaysian Airline System became the first major government agency to be privatised. In 1985, Malaysian Airline System entered the corporate sector by offering 70 million shares for sale. This exercise raised Malaysian Airline System's paid-up capital to RM350 million and brought reserves up to RM227 million.

Previously a government agency, Malaysian Airline System embarked on a system of corporate governance that would ensure the fulfilment of its role not only as a national carrier but also as a corporate citizen centred on being responsible to its shareholders. However, this change in business practice did not change the company's focus on being customer-driven.

As part of its modernisation and expansion drive, Malaysian Airline System also invested in a new maintenance hangar facility and the extension of its catering facilities in Subang. The final stage of the restructuring exercise saw Malaysian Airline System move into its new corporate headquarters onJalan Sultan Ismail, located right in the heart of the central business district of Kuala Lumpur. The 36-storey building, which cost RM88 million to build, would become the hub of the company's future activities.

Global reach

In 1986, Malaysian Airline System offered its first flight service to the United States. The service, which ran twice a week to Los Angeles via Tokyo, also saw its first deployment of the brand new Boeing 747-300 Combi aircraft with stretched upper deck. By the end of 1987, Malaysian Airline System had established itself as an international carrier of choice, offering 34 domestic routes and 27 international destinations.

Malaysian Airline System has always been a customer-driven organisation. The introduction of its Esteemed Traveller loyalty programme in September 1987 demonstrated Malaysian Airline System's commitment to customer relationship management. A month later, Malaysian Airline System (MAS) changed its corporate identity and became known as Malaysia Airlines. This reflected its new objectives to create greater awareness of Malaysia and went in line with the government's efforts to make Malaysia an internationally acclaimed travel destination and trading nation.

By 1990, Malaysia Airlines extended its global reach to include more destinations including Guangzhou, Ho Chih Min City, Fukuoka and Pontianak. Flights were added to its London and Tokyo routes to cater to the increased passenger traffic.

In 1991, as part of its fleet modernisation programme, Malaysia Airlines invested RM9.6 billion to expand its fleet of aircraft.

On January 9, 1996, as part of its rationalisation programme, Malaysia Airlines announced the purchase of ten B777-200s, five B777-300s and ten B747-400s from Boeing Aircraft Company at an estimated RM10 billion. The B777s were powered by Roll Royce engines and the B747s by Pratt & Whitney engines.

On April 2, 1997, a new flight was launched to mark the 50th Anniversary of Malaysia Airlines. The newly acquired B777-200 broke two world records; one for the longest non-stop flight from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, and another for the speed recorded for the journey. This aircraft was named 'Super Ranger'. On April 27, 1997, this aircraft was ferry flighted to Kuala Lumpur.

As of July 30, 2004, Malaysia Airlines has a fleet of 100 aircraft in its network. Currently, with its extensive list of over 100 destinations, passengers can be assured that their travel needs will be catered for when they are abroad. East or West, Malaysia Airlines is there for you.

Moving Forward: A Drive for Change

Breaking the barriers of the new millennium, our fleet of nearly 100 aircraft serves more than 100 destinations around the world. As a pioneer in the industry in more ways than one, we are able to demonstrate our commitment to our customers and partners.

In April 2001, Malaysia Airlines became the first airline in the world to pilot a twin-engine commercial jet through the newly opened polar routes, passing through the inhospitable regions of Russia and North Alaska. Malaysia Airlines' then Managing Director, Dato' Mohd Nor Yusof, together with a team of representatives from Boeing and Rolls Royce, two Russian Air Traffic Control management staff and senior officials from the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, journeyed on this historic flight.

These newly chartered routes provide a significant time-saving advantage for passengers who no longer have to travel east to west. Malaysia Airlines takes pride in being the first Asian airline to accomplish such a feat.

As part of our expansion, we have recently allied ourselves with Cathay Pacific to provide a code-sharing agreement to enable more weekly flights to Hong Kong.

At a time when collaboration and partnership prevails, Malaysia Airlines has forged many agreements with regional and international airlines to provide various services including catering, maintenance and inter-airline passenger transfers. Malaysia Airlines' efforts have also received awards from various institutions including the Asian Institute of Management and the Boeing Aircraft Company.

Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Ismail once echoed the need for Malaysia Airlines to become the foremost airline in the region at the official launch of the first Malaysia Airlines flight in 1972. Since then, the airline has come a long way. Today, Malaysia Airlines has clearly established itself as a carrier of international standing and it is still going strong in its journey to ever greater excellence. Through its ‘Moving Forward’ initiative, it is now embarking on ‘A Drive for Change’.

Chairman, Dato’ Dr. Munir, outlined the company’s new drive for change as a focus on significant short-term improvement initiatives and a longer term plan to improve operating performance as well.

The drive involves:

- restructuring management along clear lines of business - Commercial,Operations, and Business Services.
- simplifying the scope of operations to focus on activities that are fundamental to flying a profitable commercial airline, and building a competitive cost base.
- leveraging core assets – people, location, network – to build a long term sustainable position in the world airline industry.
The new structure is designed to focus on streamlining the operations of Malaysia Airlines and enhancing the cost and operational efficiencies of the organisation.

Continuing with the theme ‘Going Beyond Expectations’ as Malaysia Airlines' way of life, the airline is committed to being a world-class carrier as well as a responsible corporate citizen in the global economy. Apart from being a carrier, Malaysia Airlines has diversified its operations into human resource development, training, catering, property consultancy and technical ground support for aircrafts. Sharing the limelight with the ultra modern Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia Airlines also provides world-class cargo management facilities to meet the needs of our partners.

Taken from "Malaysia Airlines - Past, Present & Moving Forward"


MAS flies to numerous destinations in Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa and South America. It was the first airline in Southeast Asia to fly to Johannesburg in South Africa, following the demise of apartheid. This flight is extended to Buenos Aires, Argentina, being the only South-East Asian airline that has its network on South America-Latin America.

List of Destinations

Main article: Malaysia Airlines destinations


Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-400 (9M-MPN)

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-400 (9M-MPK)

The nose of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-400 (9M-MPN)
When it first flew the skies in 1972, Malaysia Airlines had little more than five Boeing 737-200s, and a handful of Fokker F27s and BN2A Normandy Islanders. The Boeing 737-200s would remain until 1993, by which time a total of 12 were in service. In 1974 it acquired three Boeing 707-320s, though from then on kept leasing more of that type of aircraft from British Airways in particular. DC-10-30s came into service in 1976, and five remained until mid 1990s. In 1979 Malaysia Airlines acquired five new Airbus A300B4s to replace its aging fleet of Boeing 707s. The first Boeing 747 for Malaysia Airlines arrived in 1982,a series -200, followed shortly by another. In 1985 the only Boeing 747-300 to ever serve Malaysia Airlines was bought, and used for the inaugural service between Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles. Malaysia Airlines received its first Boeing 747-400 four years later, and these have remained in service since. In the early 1990s, Fokker F27s were replaced by ten brand new Fokker F50s. Boeing 737-400s were brought in to replace the older -200 series, and later (though shortlived) -500 series. In all Malaysia Airlines has 39 Boeing 737-400s, making it the single largest operator of the Boeing 737 outside United States. At about the same time, Airbus A330-300s came in to replace the Airbus A300s. The Boeing 777s came in in 1997.

Today, Malaysia Airlines flies Boeing 747, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft for its medium to long haul international routes, while the Boeing 737 is often used for shorter international destinations and domestic flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the airline's base.

Malaysia Airlines has expressed interest in purchasing the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and has signed a deal for 6 Airbus 380-800 aircraft. The first A380 will be delivered in early 2007 under a lease deal from its holding company Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad (PMB) and it will be used to provide additional capacity on trunk routes to Europe (ref: Airliner World, March 2005).


Boeing 747-400 (17)
Boeing 777-200 (17)
Airbus A330-300 (11)
Airbus A330-200 (5)
Boeing 737-400 (39)
Fokker 50 (10)
DHC-6 Twin Otter(5)
Boeing 747-200F (8)

In spite of enormous financial difficulties during the 1997 economic crisis, requiring the government to renationalise the airline, quality has consistently been excellent and it is considered to be one of the very best airlines in the world, rated 4th in the world and winning the Best Cabin Crew Award from Skytrax in 2004 for the fourth consecutive year, but has since lost the title to Asiana Airlines.

It is one of the few airlines that provides personal LCD monitors for inflight entertainment even in Economy class. It has been rated as a five-star airline by Skytrax.

A cabin refurbishment is in progress on the first/business class cabins on aircraft deployed on long hauls (B747-400 and B777-200ER). With new lie-flat seats being installed, as well the latest inflight entertainement system. New uniforms will also be introduced for cabin crews as well as enhanced onboard catering.

Recent events

On 24 February 2005, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines/Silkair agreed to seek greater commercial cooperation that will enhance their competitiveness and benefit consumers as Asia moves towards an open skies policy. The three airlines signed a tripartite codeshare agreement that will empower travellers with wider options and more connectivity when flying between the two countries. Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, which is the regional airline of the Singapore Airlines Group, will start codeshare flights with Malaysia Airlines between Singapore and Kuching, and Singapore and Kota Kinabalu from 27 March 2005, the start of the Northern Summer 2005 Schedule. (Appendix 1)

The Singapore – Penang sector will be codeshared between Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines only. For the SilkAir-operated Singapore-Kuching sector, the codeshare with Malaysia Airlines will start from July 1.

Other facts

- Malaysia Airlines is the only Asian airline to offer services to Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Malaysia Airlines flies to over 100 destinations across six continents.
- Malaysia Airlines' headquarters are located straight ahead from one of the runways at Kuala Lumpur's international airport.
- First airline to have a Business Center onboard a plane. (But has since been withdrawn)
- First airline to provide air to ground retail transactions, aboard the B777 and some B747 aircraft.
- First airline to offer a 10.4 inch in seat screen for First Class
- Awards won include "Best First Class Service" and "Top Five For Business Class In Long Haul" both by Inflight Research Services,UK.
- Boasts their own inflight magazine,Going Places, their own catering services, MAS Catering(MCSB) and their own travel agency, MAS Golden Holidays.
- Boeing's airline code for Malaysia Airlines is XXX-XH6, i.e. 737-2H6, 747-4H6, 777-2H6
- Often seen as a rival to Singapore Airlines, but has only managed to attract mainly leisure passengers. Has been seen adding new destinations similar to Singapore Airlines'.
- Has won "Worlds Best Cabin Staff" 4 Years running 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. Skytrax
Won "Best Economy Class 2005" Skytrax
- Has won "Best Airline S.E Asia 2005" Skytrax
- One of few "5-Star" rated arlines
- Malaysia Airlines is a major sponsor in many sporting events throughout the globe especially in county cricket in the United Kingdom and currently the World Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne.


"Malaysia Airlines - Past, Present & Moving Forward". Retrieved Nov. 9, 2005.


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