Malaysia Airlines seeks commercial tie-up with Japan Airlines on routes between both countries

Malaysia Airlines seeks commercial tie-up with Japan Airlines on routes between both countries

Malaysia Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Malaysia Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Jul 21, 2014. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines has applied to the country’s aviation regulator to set up a commercial joint venture with Japan Airlines (JAL) covering all routes between Malaysia and Japan.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) said in a statement dated Apr 25 that the joint venture is a commercial partnership.

MAVCOM said that both carriers intend to cooperate on all their passenger services which comprise non-stop servicesfrom Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo and Osaka, Kota Kinabalu to Tokyo, and routes within Malaysia or Japan connecting to the three routes.

The proposal is subject to clearance from MAVCOM and Japan’s transport ministry. However, no time frame for those approvals was provided.

Both Malaysia Airlines and JAL are members of the Oneworld Alliance. 

Such commercial joint ventures are not uncommon in the aviation sector. 

Mr Ellis Taylor, Deputy Asia Editor at FlightGlobal told CNA that such collaborations are becoming the trend among airlines “seeking ways to boost margins and sales”.

He added that in terms of capacity on routes between Malaysia and Japan, JAL has the lowest capacity, followed by ANA. Malaysia Airlines comes in second place, with long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X taking top spot.

Mr Taylor explained for JAL, the partnership with Malaysia Airlines is part of the carrier’s strategy to enter into cooperation with various airlines. 

The Japanese carrier is also working towards a commercial tie-up with China Eastern on their networks – the first between airlines from the two countries, as well as a similar arrangement with Hawaiian Airlines
“For Malaysia Airlines, they are in a tough financial situation and this (commercial partnership) could be a lifeblood for them. In doing so, they are taking out a competitor on the (Malaysia-Japan) market and they work with JAL to boost yields on those routes. This could also help Malaysia Airlines get access to JAL’s distribution network in Japan,” added Mr Taylor.


MAVCOM cited Malaysia Airlines as saying in its application that the commercial joint venture would allow them and JAL to coordinate their schedules and capacity; sales and marketing; performance monitoring and revenue planning.

Malaysia Airlines also said that the proposed commercial tie-up “is expected to significantly benefit consumers”. 

This includes having more travelling options and improved scheduling on the trunk routes, better accessibility through expanded code-sharing, as well as more attractive fare options.

“Contemporaneous benefits will accrue to the Malaysian economy through strengthening trade ties between Malaysia and Japan, potential increases in traffic to Malaysia, and the promotion of Kuala Lumpur International Airport as an air hub,” added Malaysia Airlines.

MAVCOM is seeking comments from the public on the proposal until May 27. 

In October 2017, Star Alliance members Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa Group launched a partnership to cooperate on flights between Singapore, Australia and Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium.

This has seen flights operated by SIA, Lufthansa and SWISS between Singapore and Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich included in a revenue-sharing agreement between the two airline groups.

Source: CNA/ac(hm)