etihad to forge closer links with malaysia airlines
Etihad Airways is set to forge closer links with Malaysia Airlines, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding which will potentially see the two national airlines add destinations to their international networks and offer frequent flyer benefits offered to their respective customers.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive and Malaysia Airlines’ managing director and chief executive Idris Jala, signed the agreement at the headquarters of the Malaysian national carrier in Kuala Lumpur.
The proposed agreement paves the way for closer co-operation between the airlines on a range of joint initiatives which are likely to include a future code-share agreement as well as collaboration on frequent flyer programmes, ground handling, customer support, cargo and airport lounge access.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “Malaysia Airlines enjoys a deserved reputation for consistent and high quality service, both on the ground and in the air, and so is a natural partner for Etihad.
“Asia is one of our strongest markets and there is huge appetite amongst our customers to travel beyond the Malaysian capital. This partnership will hopefully give us an ideal opportunity to expand the number of Asian destinations we offer our customers and we anticipate that it will result in increased traffic and more revenue opportunities for both our airlines.
Idris Jala, Malaysia Airlines’ managing director and chief executive, added: “The MoU with Etihad is timely as Malaysia is a favourite destination for visitors from the Middle East. With a steady increase in tourist arrivals over the years from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, we hope to tap on this MoU to increase further the passenger numbers from that region not only to Malaysia but to our destinations beyond.”
Since launching services to the Malaysian capital in January 2007, Kuala Lumpur has quickly established itself as one of Etihad’s most popular business and leisure travel destinations. The Abu Dhabi-based airline currently operates six weekly Boeing B777 flights to the Malaysian capital.
Kuala Lumpur is one of seven destinations served by Etihad in the Asia-Pacific region. The airline also flies to Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Singapore, Brisbane and Sydney.
Etihad currently has eight other codeshare agreements with Yemen Airways, Saudi Arabia Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Philippine Airlines, Middle East Airlines and UK-based airline, bmi.