Malaysia Airlines Berhad
Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad
IATA ICAO Callsign
MH MAS MALAYSIAN
Founded1 May 1947; 76 years ago (1947-05-01)
(as Malayan Airways)
Commenced operations
  • 1 October 1972; 51 years ago (1972-10-01)
    (as Malaysian Airline System)
  • 1 September 2015; 8 years ago (2015-09-01)
    (as Malaysia Airlines Berhad)
HubsKuala Lumpur International Airport
Secondary hubsKota Kinabalu International Airport
Focus citiesKuching International Airport
Frequent-flyer programEnrich
AllianceOneworld[1]
Subsidiaries
Fleet size76[2]
Destinations77[3]
Parent companyKhazanah Nasional Berhad[4][5]
HeadquartersKuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang, Malaysia
Key people
Profit
  • Increase RM1.099 billion (2023)
[6]
Employees12,000[7]
Websitewww.malaysiaairlines.com

Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB; Malay: Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad), formerly known as Malaysian Airline System (MAS; Sistem Penerbangan Malaysia), and branded as Malaysia Airlines, is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a member of the Oneworld airline alliance. (The MAS initials are still being kept by subsidiaries MASkargo and MASwings.) The company headquarters are at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In August 2014, the Malaysian government's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional—which then owned 69.37% of the airline—announced its intention to purchase the remaining ownership from minority shareholders and delist the airline from Malaysia's stock exchange, thereby renationalising the airline. It operates primarily from its main hub Kuala Lumpur International Airport to destinations throughout Asia, Oceania and Europe, as well as its secondary hub Kota Kinabalu International Airport to Taipei and Tokyo (Narita).

Malaysia Airlines owns two subsidiary airlines: Firefly and MASwings. Firefly operates scheduled flights from its two home bases Penang International Airport and Subang International Airport. The airline focuses on tertiary cities. MASwings focuses on inter-Borneo flights. Malaysia Airlines has a freighter fleet operated by sister company MASkargo, which manages freighter flights and aircraft cargo-hold capacity for all Malaysia Airlines' passenger flights.

Malaysia Airlines traces its history to Malayan Airways Limited, which was founded in Singapore in the 1930s and flew its first commercial flight in 1947. It was then renamed as Malaysian Airways after the formation of the independent country, Malaysia, in 1963. In 1966, after the separation of Singapore, the airline was renamed Malaysia–Singapore Airlines (MSA), before its assets were divided in 1972 to permanently form two separate and distinct national airlines—Malaysian Airline System (MAS, since renamed as Malaysia Airlines) and Singapore Airlines (SIA).[8]

Despite numerous awards from the aviation industry in the 2000s and early 2010s,[9][8] the airline struggled to cut costs to cope with the rise of low-cost carriers (LCCs) in the region since the early 2000s.[10] In 2013, the airline initiated a turnaround plan after large losses beginning in 2011 and cut routes to unprofitable long-haul destinations, such as Los Angeles, Buenos Aires and South Africa.[11] That same year, Malaysia Airlines also began an internal restructuring and intended to sell units such as engineering and pilot training.[11] From 2014 to 2015, the airline declared bankruptcy and was renationalised by the government under a new entity, which involved transferring all operations, including assets and liabilities as well as downsizing the airline.[12][13]

History

1937–1941: Wearne's Air Service

Operating air links between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang, Wearne's Air Service, founded by Australian brothers Theodore and Charles Wearne, commenced as a thrice-weekly flight connecting Singapore and Penang.[14] The first flight, using an eight-seater de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapide took place on 28 June 1937.[15] This inaugural flight departed Singapore from the then brand-new Kallang Airport, which had just opened 18 days earlier.[16] Later, a second DH.89A enabled the expansion to daily services and the addition of Ipoh as a destination. During World War II, WAS services ceased after the Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore in 1941.

1947–1963: Malayan Airways

Wearne's Air Service and Malayan Airways pioneered the advent of Malaya's first-generation airline

An initiative[17] by the Alfred Holt's Liverpool-based Ocean Steamship Company, in partnership with the Straits Steamship Company[18] and Imperial Airways, resulted in the incorporation of "Malayan Airways Limited" (MAL) in Singapore on 12 October 1937, but the first paying passengers could be welcomed on board only in 1947, 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.[19] This inaugural flight on the Raja Udang,[20] 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.[21]

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 the IATA. By 1955, Malayan Airways' fleet had grown to include a large number of Douglas DC-3s, and finally went public in 1957. Other aircraft operated in the first two decades included the Douglas DC-4 Skymaster, Vickers Viscount, Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, Bristol Britannia, de Havilland Comet 4, and Fokker F27.

1963–1972: Rapid expansion, Malaysian Airways, and Malaysia-Singapore Airlines

Malayan Airways regional subsidiaries for its Borneo and Malayan destinations.

Over the next few years, the airline expanded rapidly, boosted by postwar air travel demand when flying became more than a privilege for the rich and famous. By 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. The airline also increased its frequencies from Singapore to cities on the British Borneo, including Brunei, Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu), Kuching, Labuan, Sandakan, and Sibu.

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 Malaysia in September 1963, the airline's name was officially from "Malayan Airways" to "Malaysian Airways" concurrent with the arrival of five Fokker F27 in November 1963[22] (though still abbreviated to MAL).[21] MAL also incorporated Borneo Airways, with the brand effectively merged under its parent company by 1 April 1965.

In 1966, following Singapore's separation from the federation, the airline's name was changed again, to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA).[21] The next year had 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 afterwards.

1972–1997: Incorporation and international expansion

McDonnell Douglas DC-10, the first wide-bodied aircraft operated by the company

The differing needs of the two shareholders, however, led to the break-up of the airline just six 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), and Singapore Airlines. With the Singapore government determined to develop its airlines' international routes, it took the entire fleet of seven Boeing 707s and five Boeing 737s, which would allow it to continue serving its regional and long-haul international routes. Since most of MSA's international routes were flown out of Singapore, most of the 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, so 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,[23] 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.

Revenue passenger-kilometers, in millions
Year Traffic
1975 1633
1979 2825
1981 4290
1990 11909
1995 22558
2000 37939
Source: Air Transport World

MAS 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 with 19 aircraft and soon expanded, including introducing flights from Kuala Lumpur to London.[24][25] In that 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 to Europe, with initial flights from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam, Paris, and Frankfurt. The Boeing 707s were then removed from the fleet.

1980 sees the entry of the Airbus A300B4 fleet which were occasionally deployed to Asian and domestic routes and the addition of additional DC-10s onto the fleet. In 1982 the airline received its first Boeing 747-200 which was used as the carriers long haul flagship.[26]

An economic boom in Malaysia during the 1980s spurred the growth of MAS. By the end of the decade, MAS was flying to 47 overseas destinations, including eight European destinations, seven Oceanian destinations, and United States destinations of Los Angeles and Honolulu. In 1993, MAS reached South America when the airline received its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. MAS became the first 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 with fifth-freedom rights to carry passengers between Mexico City and Los Angeles, en route to Kuala Lumpur.

Further expansion in the fleet were executed by the airline in the 1990s with the short term leasing of the MD-11 fleet. The airline has also begun replacing its Boeing 737-200 and Fokker 27 fleet with the addition of the Boeing 737-400, Boeing 737-500 and Fokker 50. In 1995 the airline received its Airbus A330-300 which effectively replaced the Airbus A300B4 and DC-10-30. A small number of its MD-11, DC-10s and Boeing 747-200 were converted and transferred to its air cargo division Maskargo.[27]

1997 also sees its final widebody fleet modernisation of the decade with the delivery of the Boeing 777-200. The airline broke the world record when the first aircraft due for delivery nickname 'super ranger' flew east bound from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, a distance of 10,823 nautical miles (20,044 km; 12,455 mi), in 21 hours and 23 minutes [28]

1997–2005: Financial crisis

Prior to the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the airline suffered losses of as much as RM260 million after earning a record-breaking RM333 million profit in the financial year 1996/1997.[29] The airline then introduced measures to bring it back to profitable. For the financial year 1999/2000, the airline cut its losses from RM700 million in 1998/1999 to RM259 million.

The airline plunged into further losses in the following years, however, amounting to RM417 million for the financial year 2000/2001 and RM836 million for the financial year 2001/2002.[29] With these losses, the airline cut many unprofitable routes, such as Brussels, Darwin, Madrid, Munich, and Vancouver. The airline recovered from its losses the following year, achieving its then-highest profit, totalling RM461 million.[30]

On the same year he airline proceeded with the order of 6 A380 in 2003.[31] The aircraft were envisioned as a solution for the slot constraints the airline faced with few European routes and to maximise its presence on the kangaroo route.

Malaysia Airlines in Los Angeles International Airport

In 2005, MAS suffered yet another period of unprofitability, reporting 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 charges, and leases.[32]

The Malaysian government then appointed Idris Jala as the new CEO of MAS 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. 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[32] 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.[32]

Another factor for the losses was poor revenue management. MAS substantially lagged its peers on yield. Some of this gap was due to differences in traffic mix,[33] with 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. Moreover, MAS had one of the lowest labour costs per available seat kilometre (ASK) at US$0.41, compared to other airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines at $0.59 and S$0.60,[33] respectively. Despite low labour costs, however, the ratio of ASK revenue to this cost was, at 2.8, much lower than Singapore Airlines, where the ratio is 5.0, and slightly higher than Thai Airways[33] Other factors were listed in the later-revealed business turnaround plan (BTP) of Malaysia Airlines, all leading to the net loss of RM1.3 billion in 2005.

2006–2010: Recovery from unprofitability

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-400 Hibiscus Livery in Sydney, 2007

Under the leadership of Idris Jala, MAS launched its BTP in 2006, developed using the Government-linked Company Transformation Manual as a guide. Under the various initiatives, launched together with the BTP, Malaysia Airlines switched from losses to profitability between 2006 and 2007. When the BTP came to an end, the airline posted a record profit of RM853 million (US$265 million) in 2007, ending a series of losses since 2005. The result exceeded the target of RM300 million by 184%.[34]

Route rationalising was also the major contributors to the airline's return to profitability. MAS pared its domestic routes from 114 to 23, and also cancelled virtually all unprofitable international routes. It has handed off its turboprop fleet to airasia which was then tasked to handle the rural air service. It 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. MAS then pushed for new aircraft purchases, using its cash surplus of RM5.3 billion to eventually purchase new narrow- and wide-body aircraft.[35] The first of such aircraft purchases were the order of 55 Boeing 737-800 which were meant to effectively replaced the airlines ageing Boeing 737-400.[36]

In 2007 the airline took back east Malaysia's rural air service (RAS) operation and former turboprop aircraft which were then crippled by Airasia's subsidiary Fly Asian Express due to its inexperience. Malaysia airlines instead launched its own subsidiary MASwings to handle the rural air service and Firefly to start commercial operations in Subang airport. Malaysia Airlines former Fokker 50's were gradually replaced by the airlines order of ATR-72-500 from the year 2008 onwards.[37]

Due to Idris Jala's appointment to the cabinet in August 2009, Tengku Azmil Zahruddin took over as the airline's new CEO.[38] In December that year, 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 the Airbus A380 planes, which were then introduced into service in 2012, on long-haul routes along with the Boeing 777s , the A330s on medium-haul routes, and Boeing 737 aircraft on short-haul routes.[39]

2011–2014: Third unprofitability, 2014 aircraft losses, bankruptcy

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380-800, which entered the fleet in 2012

MAS recorded a net loss of RM2.52 billion in 2011, which was the largest in its company history, due to rising fuel costs.[40] A major restructuring led to the appointment of a new CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, in September 2011. One of the first initiatives to stop the losses was a rationalisation of the network. The company suspended services to Surabaya, Karachi, Dubai, Dammam[41] and Johannesburg.

With the delivery of the Airbus A380-800, the airline has also begun to retire its remaining Boeing 747-400s in 2012.[42] Also retired were the older generation Airbus A330s and Boeing 737-400s by the end of 2014.[43]

In February 2013, MAS reported a net profit of RM51.4 million for the fourth quarter. The airline's improved financial performance that year was mainly attributable to its route rationalisation programme, which had an overall 8% reduction in ASK. This was matched by a marginal 1% reduction in revenue to RM13.76bil in 2012 and seat factor holding at 74.5%. The reduced ASK also helped MAS register a corresponding 14% decrease in expenditures.[44]

The airline struggled to cut costs to compete with a wave of new, low-cost carriers in the region. The airline lost RM443.4 million (US$137.4 million) in the first quarter of 2014.[45] The second quarter—the first in the aftermath of Flight 370's disappearance – had a loss of RM307.04 million (US$97.6 million), which represented a 75% increase over losses from second-quarter 2013.[46] As a result, MAS has not made a profit since 2010.[46] In the previous three years, the airline had booked losses of RM1.17 billion ($356 million) in 2013, RM433 million in 2012, and RM2.5 billion in 2011.[47] Industry analysts expect MAS to lose further market share and face a challenging environment to stand out from competitors while addressing their financial plight.[47] The company's stock, down as much as 20% following the disappearance of Flight 370, had fallen 80% over the previous five years, which contrasts with a rise in the Malaysian stock market of about 80% over the same period.[48] A month after the disappearance, CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya acknowledged that ticket sales had declined, but did not provide details. This may have partially resulted from the suspension of the airline's advertising campaigns following the disappearance. In China, where the majority of Flight 370 victims were from, bookings on Malaysia Airlines were down 60% in March.[48] He said he was not sure when the airline could start repairing its image, but that the airline was adequately insured to cover the financial loss stemming from the incident.[45][47] In August, the airline warned of poor second-half earnings, citing a 33% decline in average weekly bookings following the loss of Flight 17.[46] Media reported that some flights were largely empty and that the airline had slashed prices well below competitors on several key routes.[48][49]

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 sporting the 2010-2017 livery

Even before the shootdown of Flight 17, many analysts and the media suggested that Malaysia Airlines would need to rebrand and repair its image and/or require government assistance to return to profitability.[50][51][52][53][54] On 8 August, trading in the company's stock was temporarily suspended when Khazanah Nasional—the majority shareholder (69.37%)[55] and a Malaysian state-run investment arm—requested that MAS' Board of Directors undertake a selective capital reduction exercise (e.g. buyback or cancel stock of other shareholders);[56] Khazanah announced it will spend RM1.38 billion (US$431 million; 27 sen per share) to compensate minority shareholders (a 12.5% premium of 7 August closing price).[57][58][59] At the time, Khazanah Nasional did not announce much about its plans for the airline except that the airline had "substantial funding requirements"[57] and that a "comprehensive review and restructuring"[57] was needed.

On 29 August, Khazanah released a report, "Rebuilding a National Icon: The MAS Recovery Plan",[60] which outlines their plan for the restructuring of MAS and the process of completing the takeover. About 6,000 jobs (about 30% of MAS's workforce) will be eliminated and the carrier's route network will be shrunk to focus on regional destinations rather than unprofitable long-haul routes.[61] Khazanah had plans to delist the airline from Malaysia's stock exchange by the end of 2014 and to return it to profitability by late 2017, relisting the airline by 2018 or 2019.[61] On the business/legal side, Khazanah intended to transfer the relevant operations, assets, and liabilities of Malaysian Airline System Berhad into a new company (no name given in documents) by July 2015.[60]: 2 

2015–2020: Renationalisation, restructuring, and rebranding

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350-900 sporting the current (since 2017) livery at London Heathrow Airport in 2019

In January 2015, the airline was declared "technically bankrupt".[62] In May 2015, it was announced that the airline would be transferred to a newly founded Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) by 1 September 2015, with the rebranding of the airline also commencing the same day. The new company commanded a heavily reduced workforce and adjusted route network with a focus on Asia, according to its newly appointed CEO, Christoph Mueller. He also announced that Malaysia Airlines would be putting of its Airbus A380s up for sale.[63]

Four months later, MAB announced that they would add four new Airbus A350-900 aircraft to their fleet from the end of 2017 to the middle of 2018. The aircraft were to be leased from Air Lease Corporation.[64] The airline also expected to add two more A350-900 and two Airbus A330-900 aircraft in the future.[65] MAB then announced that it was set to undergo a brand overhaul involving a new name, logo and livery for its aircraft, with the changes to be unveiled on an unspecified date.[66]

The airline has also started the retirement of the Boeing 777-200 fleet, with the last aircraft leaving in the year 2016. The route renationalisation and trimming of many long haul routes had made the aircraft inefficient to be deployed on the airline's medium haul routes, which were then already served by the Airbus A330-300.[67][68]

In January 2016, the airline introduced a policy of not serving alcohol on flights of less than three hours.[69] While the move was unpopular with many travellers, the airline stated that its actions were in response to the preference of the majority of customers.[70]

In April 2016, CEO Christoph Mueller resigned from his post after less than a year of leading the carrier's reorganisation efforts, citing a change personal circumstances. Mueller initially planned to continue as CEO until September 2016 and stay on the airline's board as a nonexecutive director to oversee the transition to a new CEO.[71] It was announced that Peter Bellew would become the new chief with effect from 1 July 2016,[72] effectively shortening Mueller's tenure by a further two months.

In April 2017, Malaysia Airlines announced that the airline's entire fleet would be tracked with the satellite flight-tracking system.[73][74]

In October 2017, an unexpected announcement was made involving Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew’s return to Ryanair as chief operations officer to help fix pilot problems. Bellew had worked as a flight operations director at Ryanair until 2014. Bellew's decision to leave Malaysia Airlines came just over a year after former chief executive Christoph Mueller left the airline, citing personal circumstances after being hired on a three-year mission to revive the state-controlled firm.[75] The appointment of Mueller's replacement, Captain Izham Ismail, who served as the airline's chief operating officer prior to the appointment, was announced a few days later.[76]

November 2017 saw the arrival of the Airbus A350 and Airbus A330-200 which were leased onto the fleet. The brand new Airbus A350s were essentially used to replace the Airbus A380 on the airline’s small long haul route network while the second hand Airbus A330-200 were deployed as interim aircraft for certain medium to long haul routes.[77][78] With this the A380s were instead deployed to Narita and Seoul.[79]

In 2019 the airline launched Project Amal (Hope) which was a special hajj umrah charter for Muslim pilgrims utilising the airlines Airbus A380 fleet. [80]

2020–present: COVID-19 pandemic, fourth unprofitability, catering fiasco, turnaround

On 6 April 2020, the Malaysian private equity firm Golden Skies Ventures reportedly made an offer of US$2.5 billion to take over Malaysia Airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.[81] The pandemic also resulted in the airline grounding most of its Boeing 737 aircraft.[82]

In October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia Airlines needed about RM1 billion of capital annually if the government intended to sustain its operations under the current structure.[83] The airline also decided to retire and return all 6 of its grounded Airbus A380 aircraft to Airbus in 2023 as the viability to operate the double decker fleet became difficult as grounding persisted. [84]

In 2022, the airline improved its financial margin through restructuring. It switched a majority of its passenger aircraft in year of Q2 2020 to Q1 2022 into cargo flights, leveraging on its ability to support the disrupted supply chain system in Asia.[85][86] The Airline also undertook multiple foreign repatriation missions, transporting stranded citizens[87] back to their home countries along with flying medical equipment and vaccines.[88][89][90] In the same year, the airline reported a net profit of RM1.15 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 with its total net loss reduced to RM344 million from RM1.65 billion a year ago.[91]

In 2023, as a result of positive cash flow, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad decided it would hold on to its sole ownership of the airline until further notice. Credit lines predicted to alleviate the airline's burden were also underutilised in year 2021-2022. The sovereign fund planned to reduce its stakes on Malaysia Airlines and to allow the airline to seek strategic partnership with an international operator post 2025.[92]

In August 2023, the airline experienced issues with its primary inflight caterer BRAHIM in Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Contract disputes since the pandemic had brought both parties to non agreeable terms in regards to renewal. As a result, the airline halted a majority of its inflight hot meal services in September for flights originating from Kuala Lumpur.[93] The airline has since reintegrated hot meal services from various caterers by stages and had restored most of them by November.[94]

In November 2023, the airline has stated that it expects to reach full net profit for the whole year of 2023 with full break even in its entirety. The airline cited improved yields, balanced sheets and a constant positive cash flow as a result of its restructuring efforts along with the return of global travel demand post pandemic.[95] The airline has also began recommitting its narrowbody and widebody aircraft renewal program.[96]

In March 2024, Malaysia Aviation Group has confirmed that Malaysia Airlines and its subsidiaries has reached full net profit for year 2023. A profit after tax and interest (NIAT) of RM766 million was announced over year 2022 net loss of RM344 million.[97]

Corporate affairs

Head office

Malaysia Airlines has its headquarters and registered office on the first floor of Administration Building, South Support Zone at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Sepang, in the Klang Valley region.[98]

Previously the airline headquarters were on the third floor of the MAS Administrative Complex at Subang Airport,[99][100] in Subang.[101] Prior to the construction of the Kuala Lumpur MAS headquarters, the airline rented space in the UMBC headquarters.[102] The airline had a permanent corporate headquarters in the Bangunan MAS,[103] a 34-story[101][102] building it owned along Jalan Sultan Ismail.[102][101] In 2005 The Star said that the building was "reported to be worth between RM300mil and RM350mil."[102]

In 2006, the airline moved its head office from the Kuala Lumpur building to the former headquarters in Subang.[101] Channel News Asia stated that the airline had been "forced" to sell the former headquarters.[104]

In 2010, Permodalan Nasional Berhad purchased Bangunan MAS from the airline. The new owners planned to remodel the building, by installing a five-star hotel apartment block and upgrade the offices to Grade A++.[105]

Subsidiaries

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 Associate Engine Overhaul Malaysia 30%
MASwings Sdn. Bhd. Subsidiary Airline Malaysia 100%
Firefly Sdn. Bhd. Subsidiary Airline Malaysia 100%
MAB Engineering[106] Subsidiary Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO) Malaysia 100%
Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO) Malaysia 55.39%[107]
MAB Academy (MABA)[108] Subsidiary Training Centre Malaysia 100%
Abacus Distribution Systems (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Computer reservation system Malaysia 80%
Taj Madras Flight Kitchen Limited Associate Catering India 20%
MAS Awana Services Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Catering and cabin handling services Malaysia 60%
AeroDarat Services Sdn Bhd Subsidiary Ground Handling Malaysia 100%
Brahim's Airline Catering, formerly known as LSG Sky Chefs Associate Catering, cabin handling and cleaning services Malaysia 30%

Financial highlights

Malaysia Airlines experienced a RM1.25 billion loss in 2005. In 2006, the Business Turnaround Plan was introduced to revive the airline. 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 2006, marking the national carrier's highest-ever profit in its sixty-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.[109]

Malaysia Airlines financial highlights[110]
Year ended Revenue
(RM '000)
Expenditure
(RM '000)
Profit/(Loss) after tax
(RM '000)
Shareholders fund
(RM '000)
EPS after tax
(cents)
31 March 2002 8,864,385 8,872,391 Increase336,531 2,562,841 Increase38.7
31 March 2003 8,780,820 8,591,157 Increase461,143 3,023,984 Decrease36.8
31 March 2004 11,364,309 11,046,764 Decrease326,079 3,318,732 Decrease26.0
31 December 2005 9,181,338 10,434,634 Decrease(1,251,603) 2,009,857 Decrease(100.2)
31 December 2006 13,407,240 13,641,880 Increase(133,737) 1,873,425 Increase(10.9)
31 December 2007 15,232,741 14,404,400 Increase852,743 3,934,893 Increase58.1
31 December 2008 15,570,141 15,299,234 Decrease271,795 4,119,822 Decrease14.6
31 December 2009 11,605,511 12,288,452 Increase522,948 699,693 Increase25.3
31 December 2010 13,585,559 13,485,355 Increase237,346 3,524,166 Increase7.2
31 December 2011 13,901,421 16,485,693 Decrease(2,521,325) 1,042,508 Decrease(75.5)
31 December 2012 13,756,411 14,162,738 Decrease(430,738) 2,123,144 Decrease(6.1)
31 December 2013 15,121,204 16,314,775 Decrease(1,168,839) 4,033,923 Decrease(8.7)

Branding

From the late 1990s until 2007, Malaysia Airlines used the slogan "Going Beyond Expectations" to brand itself internationally.[111] In 2008, the new branding strategy slogan became "More than just an airline code. MH is Malaysian Hospitality", to emphasise the hospitality of its cabin crew instead of the airline's network and cabin classes.[112]

Since 2013, the airline has been using the slogan "Journeys are made by people you travel with". However, with the onset of Flight 370 and Flight 17, the airline has used a number of slogans including "#keepflying" and "#flyinghigh".[113] A new slogan, "Malaysian Hospitality Begins With Us", was unveiled in 2018.[114]

Corporate image

Malaysia Airlines flight attendant

Malaysia Airlines introduced the Sarong Kebaya design on 1 March 1986[115] 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". In January 1993, the colours of the batik were enhanced to complement the colour of the new uniform. The male flight attendants wear grey colour jackets.[116]

Malaysia Airlines latest logo introduced in 2023 with 2017 livery

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. A new logo was introduced with the formation of Malaysia-Singapore Airlines in 1966, featuring the initials of the airline's name, MSA.[citation needed]

In 1971, MSA split into two airlines, each with its own policies and objectives, leading to the birth of Malaysia's flag carrier, Malaysian Airline System (MAS). The name was chosen because, in abbreviated form, MAS (as in EMAS) in Malay means gold, to symbolise quality service. A corporate logo based on the wau bulan (moon kite) was eventually adopted in the following years.

A new corporate logo designed by Dato' Johan Ariff of Johan Design Associates was introduced on 15 October 1987, retaining the essence of the moon kite, now with a sheared swept-back look painted in red (top) and blue (bottom).[117] 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 M, A and S bear red clippings to denote the initials of the statutory name of the airline, Malaysian Airline System (MAS). They were added after the original design was rejected by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.[citation needed] The introduction of blue to the original red logo has national significance.

Beginning 2010, all of Malaysia Airlines' new Airbus A330 and Boeing 737 aircraft sport the new standard airline livery featuring two strips of red and blue emerging from the bottom of the fuselage. The wau bulan on the tail was also refreshed. Although still featuring a sheared swept-back look with its colours in red and blue, its tails have been extended to appear twinned. Moreover, the airline's name on the fuselage is presented in full unlike before and it is entirely blue.[118]

In 2012, the corporate logo of red and blue wau bulan was refreshed. The new wau bulan faces right, as it did in the original 1971 logo, and its tails have been extended. Initially, the airline settled for an all blue wau bulan but it has since reverted it to its red and blue form. The wordmark has also been modernised with a new typeface and the word "airlines" is now presented in lowercase.[119] That same year, the airline also unveiled a new and exclusive livery for its Airbus A380 fleet to highlight the flagship carrier of the airline. It features an all-blue wau bulan on the tail and strip of blue ribbon on the fuselage and engines, the airline's name is entirely in blue as well.[120] Also in the same year a special retro livery scheme was painted on one B737-800 9M-MXA. The aircraft sports a rendition of the 1970s Malaysia Airlines System paint scheme to commemorate the airlines 40 year anniversary.[121] A Boeing 747-400 was also painted in the same retro scheme in 2016.[122]

In 2017, the airline introduced a special paint scheme 'Negaraku' on one Boeing 737.[123] Initially a special paint scheme on few selected aircraft, it is now in the process of being integrated as the standard livery across the entire fleet.[124] This livery has the Malaysian flag painted across the aft section of the aircraft's fuselage and symbolizes Malaysia's rich heritage culture and also modifies the corporate wau bulan logo on the tail section of the aircraft.

In 2023, an updated rendition of the standard Negaraku livery was unveiled on the upcoming Airbus A330-900 by Airbus.[125] The same updated paint scheme is also incorporated on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet.[126] The updated paint has the songket motif embedded on the wau bulan logo showcasing vibrant colors from Malaysia's traditional textiles. The airline also revised the corporate name font type appearance along with adjusting the wau bulan's angle.

Alliance

Malaysia Airlines A330-300 negaraku now in OneWorld Livery

In August 2011, Malaysia Airlines agreed to collaborate with AirAsia through a share swap. The share swap between Malaysia Airlines' major shareholder and that of AirAsia was later undone in May 2012 due to resistance from certain quarters of its staff.[127]

On 1 February 2013, Malaysia Airlines became a member of the Oneworld alliance, thus adding 16 new destinations into the alliance's map. Malaysia Airlines would now be able to fly its passengers to over 842 destinations across 156 countries.[128]

As in December 2020, Malaysia airlines now flies to a total of 59 destinations which consist of Domestic Malaysia, South East Asia, China, North Asia, South Asia, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom.

Destinations

Main article: List of Malaysia Airlines destinations

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in Cape Town, South Africa. It was the only Southeast Asian airline that served South Africa and South America until 2012. The aircraft featured here, 9M-MRO, disappeared in 2014 as Flight 370.

Before the introduction of the Business Turnaround Plan in 2006, Malaysia Airlines operated 118 domestic routes within Malaysia and 114 international routes across six continents.[33] Under the Business Turnaround Plan, numerous routes were axed and frequencies reduced. Among these routes are Manchester, Vienna, Fukuoka, Chengdu, Nagoya, Xi'an, Cairo, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Zürich. Malaysia Airlines became the first airline in Southeast Asia to fly to post-apartheid South Africa, and was the only airline in Southeast Asia to serve South America via South Africa until 2012. Prior to the 2014 aircraft losses, it had further suspended services to Cape Town, Rome, Dammam, Karachi, Surabaya, Johannesburg and Los Angeles.[129][130] After the removal of the destinations such as Istanbul, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Frankfurt; London (Heathrow) is the only remaining European destination.[131]

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[132] It also has a substantial Hajj operation.

In 2023, as part of its restructuring and network overhaul Malaysia Airlines has begun transferring a few of its intra domestic flights to its subsidiary Firefly. The transfer would take several phases. The airline however will retain core trunk domestic routes.[133]

Codeshare agreements

Malaysia Airlines codeshares with the following airlines:[134]

Interline agreements

Malaysia Airlines has an Interline agreement with Pakistan International Airlines.[142]

Fleet

Main article: Malaysia Airlines fleet

As of January 2024, Malaysia Airlines has a total of 72 aircraft in its fleet. The fleet consist of Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737 MAX 8, Airbus A330-200, Airbus A330-300, Airbus A350-900.[143] The airline also operates 3 A330-200 Freighter via its subsidiary Maskargo.[144]

In August 2022, Malaysia Airlines confirmed it would take delivery of an initial order of 20 Airbus A330neo aircraft, with purchase options for an additional 20, to gradually replace its A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft between Q3 2023 and 2028 for flights across Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East.[145][146] The deliveries are set to be split between 10 direct purchases and 10 leases from Ireland's Avolon.[citation needed] The airline is expected to make a decision on Q1 2024 regarding its subsequent optional for another additional 20 frames orders on the A330neo from Airbus.[147]

The airline is also seeking to lease 4 additional A350-900 with the first aircraft entering the fleet in late 2023.[148]

The airline has ordered 25 Boeing 737 MAX 8 with the first aircraft entering in Q4 2023.[149]

Services

Malaysia Airlines' First Class Golden Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, after renovation. It was rebranded as the Business Suite Golden lounge on 12 December 2018.

The Golden Lounge is the airport lounge for Malaysia Airlines Business Suite Class, Business Class passengers and Enrich Platinum and Enrich Gold, eligible Oneworld and code-share partner members. The Golden Lounges have open bars and food catering. There are Golden Lounges throughout the world, and qualified passengers have reciprocal privileges at lounges operated by selected partners. The lounge offers services such as business centres, food catering, slumber rooms and child-care centres.[150]

In April 2008, the airline launched its new Regional Golden Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for regional-bound front-end passengers. With this new lounge, Malaysia Airlines at Kuala Lumpur International Airport now has three lounges: the Satellite International Terminal Lounge, Domestic Lounge and Regional Lounge.

Between May 2017 and February 2018, Malaysia Airlines conducted an extensive renovation that saw all three lounges at Kuala Lumpur International Airport progressively refurnished and remodelled. The renovation saw completion with the re-opening of the Satellite International Lounge in March 2018.[151]

With the closure of its sole international Golden Lounge in London,Heathrow, the airline currently only has lounges at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Former domestic lounges in Kota Kinabalu, Kuching have been sold to third party operators with access still given to higher Enrich OneWorld frequent flyers and Business Class passengers.[152]

Cabin

The airline received the "World's Best Cabin Crew" award by Skytrax in 2012, bringing home the international accolade eight times since 2001. All of Malaysia Airlines' aircraft have an economy and a business class section, whilst Business Suite class is only present on Airbus A350 aircraft. [153]

Business Suite Class

Malaysia Airlines Business Suite on the Airbus A350. Seat type to be removed after 2025.

Business Suite Class (previously known as First Class) is offered only on the Airbus A350. Provided by Thompson Aero based on the Vantage XL lineup the seats were customized to feature four fully enclosed suites with doors, and storage cabinets along the sides of the seats.[155] Business Suite will be discontinued gradually in 2025 as the airline favors focusing on improving Business Class offering on the upcoming A330-900 and A350-900.

Business Class

Malaysia Airlines Thompson Vantage Business Class Seats that are installed on the Airbus A330-300 and A350-900 fleet

Business Class (previously known as Golden Club Class) is available on all of Malaysia Airlines' fleet. In 2011, Malaysia Airlines introduced the new Business Class seats on their brand new Airbus A330-300. Newer regional business class seats were also introduced on the Boeing 737-800 to be used on short-medium haul routes such as Kota Kinabalu, Taipei and Manila.[156]

In April 2016, Malaysia Airlines introduced a new Business Class seat provided by Thompson Aero Seating equipped with fully lie-flat seats with configured in (1-2-1/1-2-2), for their A330-300.[157] The same seat under the Thompson Vantage lineup is subsequently used on the Airbus A350 fleet.

In March 2018, following the delivery of the Airbus A330-200 fleet, Malaysia Airlines introduced another Business Class seat configuration retained from the previous operator of the aircraft, Air Berlin.[158] Business Class are configured in a 1-2-1 lay-out with seats from manufacturer, Stelia. These planes are usually flown to high demand regional destinations and Auckland.

In 2022, the airline introduced a refreshed business class seats for the Boeing 737-800 based on Safran's z600 series lineup. The same Business class seats will be installed on the upcoming Boeing 737-Max 8.[159]

In 2023, following the acquisition of additional A350 into the fleet, The airline has introduced a further refined Business Class seats. Based on the Thompson Vantage XL the seats were retained from the previous operator SAS.[160]

In 2024, Malaysia airlines will be introducing a new Business Class sporting the Collins Aerospace Elevation seat in a reverse herringbone configuration cabin on board the upcoming Airbus A330-900NEO while the Airbus A350-900 will undergo cabin reconfiguration after to sport the same type of seats later.[161][162]Featuring individual door and direct isle access, the seats are also set to feature wireless charging for personal devices and also features a 17inch Inflight Entertainment System.[163]

Economy Class

Malaysia Airlines Economy Class for widebody aircraft.

Economy Class is available on all of Malaysia Airlines' fleet. Most of the fleet, including the Airbus A350-900, Airbus A330-300,-200, Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Boeing 737-800 features a seat pitch of 30–32 inches and width of 17–18 inches.[164] Few row of seats are configured with extra legroom of up to 36inches for the A330 and A350 fleet.[165][166]

In 2022, the airline has begun introducing a lighter more slimline seat for the narrowbody Boeing 737 fleet based on the Safran z110i lineup which features USB A and C charging. Personal in-flight entertainment is also replaced in favour of wireless entertainment content streaming provided by Viasat to be used on passengers personal devices.[167]

In Q3 2024, a new Economy class seat will be introduced on the new Airbus A330-900 . Made by Recaro based on the CL3810 lineup, the seats will feature a legroom of 31-32inches with a few rows configured with extra legrooms. The seats feature a 13.3inch personal inflight entertainment system and a 60W charging capability.[168] The same seats will be extended on the airlines A350 fleet once the refurbishment program commences in late 2025.

'Baby ban' and 'child-free zone'

Malaysia Airlines has attracted both criticism and praise for its controversial decision to prohibit children from travelling in certain classes or cabins of its aircraft.

Infants are not permitted in First Class on Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A380s due to the non-availability of baby bassinets in the cabin.[169] Then-CEO Tengku Azmil Zahruddin explained the policy, saying the airline received complaints from First Class passengers that they "spend money on first class and can't sleep due to crying infants".[170]

Malaysia Airlines subsequently claimed that an upgrade of the First Class cabin to fit new seats and an ottoman (which doubles as a visitor seat) meant "there was no facility for positioning bassinets in the First Class of the 747s".[171] Malaysia Airlines has also stated that children under the age of 12 may not travel in the 70-seat upper deck economy section of the A380. "The economy seats on upper level will be allocated for business travellers. Passengers accompanying children under 12 years old age will be excluded from booking these seats."[172]

Malaysia Airlines says the decision "is to showcase the Economy Class zone in the main deck, enhanced and designated as a family and children friendly inflight zone. From the perspective of customers travelling with their families, the economy class family-friendly convenience would be a warm welcome. The main deck has more facilities such as toilets (8 for economy configuration of 350 seats) and the dual aerobridge airport facility supporting this deck will also mean a speedier/faster embarkation and disembarkation for this group of passengers."[173]

In-flight entertainment

Select is the in-flight entertainment system of Malaysia Airlines with a majority of it being powered by the Panasonic eX2 and eX3 series. The airline has also integrated free unlimited internet wifi access across all of its cabin including economy class on most of its widebody aircraft and will gradually introduce them on narrowbody aircraft as well.[174][175]

MHstudio homepage on personal devices

Select 3000i

All Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350-900, Airbus A330-300,-200 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft are equipped with an Inflight entertainment system, Select 3000i, with audio and video available in 14 languages. A touch-screen personal TV is available on board these aircraft.[176][177] Select 3000i would be discontinued on all Boeing 737-800 in late 2024. A newer updated touch screen inflight entertainment system is planned for the upcoming Airbus A330-900Neo delivery and A350-900 refurbishment program.[178]

Select Mainscreen

Used in Economy Class on Boeing 737-800 (9M-ML*) regional and medium-haul aircraft, which features 15-inch drop-down retractable LCD screens are installed at every fourth seat row. Content is limited on these system as it is catered for selected flights only. Select mainscreen would be discontinued in 2023 with the remaining aircraft equipped to be transferred to the airlines subsidiary Firefly pending cabin refurbishing.[179]

MH Studio

In 2023, Malaysia Airlines has begun introducing a new system called MH Studio which is a derivative of the Select in-flight entertainment interface the airline uses. Powered by Viasat it host 500 on-demand entertainment options that would be streamed on passengers personal devices wirelessly. Currently this system will only be installed on the Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet.[180]
MH studio for the Airbus A330-900 will include personal inflight entertainment in each seat. Replacing the older Select interface system, the inflight entertainment system will be powered by Safran RAVE system with business class featuring a 17inch screen and economy with 13.3inch. The system comes with 4k resolution and features wireless headphone connectivity. The same system will be installed on the A350 cabin refurbishment program. [181]

Sponsorships

Malaysia Airlines previously signed a 3-year sponsorship deal with Premier League club Liverpool FC in October 2016, which gives them the right to be its Official Global Airline Partner. In addition, a six-minute advertisement video of Malaysia Airlines will be broadcast during home games at Anfield until the 2018-2019 season.[182]

Recently the airline has signed a commercial partnership with Manchester United F.C. with the goal of extending the airlines branding towards several key markets.[183]

Loyalty programs

Malaysia Airlines' frequent flyer program is called Enrich by Malaysia Airlines. Enrich comprises airlines, banks, credit-card issuers, hotels and retailers around the world. The airline's former program was called Esteemed Traveller which was launched in 1987. The airline also operated a 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.

Enrich by Malaysia Airlines

Logo for the Enrich program

On 12 July 2006, Malaysia Airlines introduced its enhanced frequent-flyer program. The program is now known as Enrich by Malaysia Airlines (Enrich).[184]

In 2021, Enrich underwent rebranding focusing on travel and lifestyle programmes with increased digitization that allows members to purchase products from various retailers.[185]

Members of Enrich are able to accrue miles on qualifying flights through Malaysia Airlines and Enrich airline partners:[186]

Journify

Malaysia Aviation Group which governs Malaysia Airlines and its subsidiaries introduced Journify which is a mobile app that allows passengers to purchase various services and products. Some of the services include pre departure snacks and drinks from participating outlets. The app also features travel passes, Flight+Hotel packages and Temptation inflight product with all sales and purchases allowing Enrich points accruement[187][188]

Incidents and accidents

See also

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