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Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines ink deal ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Malaysia Airlines (MAB) and Japan Airlines (JAL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pursue a joint business agreement. Subjected to the relevant approvals, MAB and JAL intend to start the joint business in 2020 to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics.

The two airlines began offering codeshare flight operations between Japan and Malaysia when MAB decided to join the oneworld alliance in 2012. The joint business marks a new chapter in their partnership, aiming to improve customer convenience by enhancing the quality of services provided by both carriers on flights between Malaysia and Japan. In addition, MAB and JAL will also seek to cooperate in a wider scope, such as exchanging best practices, exploring collaboration in other operational areas such as cargo and developing jointly tourism in both Japanese and Malaysian markets.

Izham Ismail (pictured left), group chief executive officer of MAB said the partnership will “provide better efficiencies and a more comprehensive network” for its customers. It will also play “a key role” in “strengthening trade ties” between Malaysia and Japan, which can increase tourism and promote Kuala Lumpur International Airport as “an air hub”.

Both MAB and JAL have already filed an application with MAVCOM and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, seeking exemptions/immunity from antitrust laws. If approved, MAB and JAL will strive to deliver convenient travel options to customers with a comprehensive network throughout Malaysia and Japan.

Currently, Malaysia Airlines operates a 12 times weekly service and Japan Airlines operates a seven times weekly service, representing a total 19 times weekly flights, between Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo.

“The start of this joint business between Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines is an important milestone of our long term business plan which looks to explore more strategic opportunities as well as deepen more partnerships,” added Izham.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Malaysia Airlines as we look to bring more benefits, more choices, and more value to our customers. It is an honour to deepen the relationship with a partner that places hospitality at its core, where we look to provide a comfortable travel experience for our mutual customers. This partnership can potentially increase passenger traffic between the two countries and open up commercial opportunities,” said Yuji Akasaka (pictured right), president of JAL.

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