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Malaysia Airlines to join oneworld alliance

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SINGAPORE – Malaysia Airlines is to join oneworld®, adding one of aviation’s most frequent award winners to the world’s leading quality airline alliance.

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SINGAPORE – Malaysia Airlines is to join oneworld®, adding one of aviation’s most frequent award winners to the world’s leading quality airline alliance.

Malaysia Airlines was unanimously elected a oneworld member designate by the Chief Executives of the alliance’s member airlines, at a meeting on the sidelines of IATA’s 2011 World Air Transport Summit, which opens in Singapore today.

A formal alliance membership agreement will be completed soon.

Malaysia Airlines is expected to start flying as part of oneworld late next year.

As it prepares for its alliance membership, Malaysia Airlines intends to develop bilateral links with a number of oneworld’s established partners, who include some of the biggest and best names in the airline industry. It already codeshares with oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and Royal Jordanian.

When it becomes part of oneworld, its customers will gain access to the alliance’s truly global network. It will expand oneworld’s global coverage to almost 950 destinations in 150 countries, served by a combined fleet of more than 2,600 aircraft operating some 10,000 flights a day and carrying 358 million passengers a year.

Three established oneworld member airlines currently serve Malaysia, with Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian flying to Kuala Lumpur, and Cathay Pacific also to Penang and, through its Dragonair affiliate, Kota Kinabalu. Opportunities for expanding the alliance’s coverage of the country will be explored as Malaysia Airlines prepares to join.

When it becomes part of oneworld, members of Malaysia Airlines Enrich frequent flyer program will be able to earn and redeem rewards on any of oneworld’s 14 other top-class carriers, with top tier members able to use any of the group’s 550 plus airport lounges, and its network will be covered by oneworld’s range of alliance fares.

At the same time, frequent flyer cardholders of oneworld’s established airlines will be able to earn and redeem rewards when flying on Malaysia Airlines.

Qantas will serve as sponsor of Malaysia Airlines entry into oneworld.

Malaysia Airlines Chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid said: “The Board of Malaysia Airlines had targeted entry into an alliance this year. I am glad we are at the stage where the initiation with oneworld is formalized.”

Malaysia Airlines Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Tengku Azmil Aziz said: “With the world airline industry increasingly focused on alliances, we have carried out careful analysis of the options now available to Malaysia Airlines. The time is clearly right for our company to join one of the global airline groups, and oneworld is clearly the best option for us. As a company highly focused on quality service, we are immensely proud to have been invited to join the highest quality alliance with the best airline partners offering a global network that best complements our own. We look forward to completing all joining requirements as soon as possible.”

American Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Gerard Arpey, Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, said: “Today’s agreement with Malaysia Airlines represents another significant milestone in our effort to establish oneworld firmly as the world’s premier airline alliance with members unmatched in brand and service quality. Not only will Malaysia Airlines bolster oneworld’s presence in Asia, in North America it will also further strengthen our alliance’s position at Los Angeles, where American Airlines has significantly expanded with new international and domestic flights as well as enhanced facilities. We look forward to welcoming Malaysia Airlines to oneworld.”

oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said: “oneworld already features four of the best airlines in Asia-Pacific, including member elect Kingfisher Airlines. Adding another leading Asian carrier, in Malaysia Airlines, will greatly enhance oneworld’s offering throughout the world’s fast growing region for air travel demand.”

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said: “Malaysia Airlines is an ideal candidate for oneworld, with its world-class reputation for customer service mirroring oneworld’s own focus. Its Kuala Lumpur home will provide our customers with another of the world’s best airports, geographically well placed between our existing hubs. Qantas is delighted to be serving as its sponsor in joining oneworld.”

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.