Malaysia Airlines has signed a deal to expand its partnership with Emirates, converting the current interline agreement into a full, reciprocal codeshare partnership.
The Malaysia Airlines/Emirate deal will see Malaysia Airlines stop flying to Amsterdam and Paris with its own planes from the end of January and instead book customers onto flights operated by Emirates. It is relinquishing some loss-making European routes as part of a drive by new chief executive Christoph Mueller to turn the carrier’s fortunes around.
Whether the deal will incidentally draw Malaysia Airlines closer to Qantas, one of Emirates’ closest international commercial partners, is a moot point. It may provide provide Australian travellers with new opportunities.
The deal with Emirates means Malaysia Airlines will cancel some code-share arrangement with other partners, Mueller said, though declined to specify which ones.
The new deal will give customers of Malaysia Airlines and Emirates an international network connecting Malaysia to more than 90 destinations on the Emirates network across Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas, plus what a statement by Malaysia Airlines called “exclusive frequent flyer benefits and world-class travel experiences”.
Malaysia Airlines will add its code on flights of Emirates to Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. In return, Emirates will add its code on flights of Malaysia Airlines to domestic routes in Malaysia, South East Asia and selective cities across the Asia Pacific region. The codeshare will be implemented progressively throughout 2016 subject to regulatory approvals.
With the Emirates partnership, Malaysia Airlines’ customers will have access to 38 European, 15 Americas and 38 destinations in the Middle East and Africa and Indian Ocean, while Emirates’ customers will have access to Malaysia Airlines’ extensive Asia Pacific network with up to 300 daily departures in the region. Sales under this codeshare agreement will commence from 1 February 2016.
Mueller said the strategic partnership “paves the path towards an integrated customer proposition offering for both airlines”.
“The improved connectivity will enable Malaysia Airlines customers to reach up to 38 destinations in Europe on a daily and even double daily basis for key European cities such as Zurich, Rome, Munich, Frankfurt, Madrid, and Barcelona.
“This partnership gives our customers access to a dramatically expanded range of travel options. It is a great way for customers to travel seamlessly to major cities across the world. Furthermore, Dubai is a tourism, trade and logistics hub which has earned itself the reputation as being the gateway between the East and the West.”
Emirates president Tim Clark said the new codeshare agreement with Malaysia Airlines “will enable our passengers to experience new destinations and improved connectivity in the ever-popular Southeast Asia region, and also additional comforts such as reciprocal lounge access and priority check-in.
“Malaysia Airlines’ extensive network in the emerging Southeast Asia region perfectly complements Emirates’ global network and enhances the choice of travel destinations for customers in both the business and leisure segment.”
Written by Peter Needham