Friday April 26, 2013
MAS seeks code-share with British Airways, Latam Airlines
By B K SIDHU
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is currently working on code-share arrangements with British Airways (BA) and Latam Airlines, while expanding existing arrangements with Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Air.
MAS, in response to queries from StarBiz, said it was currently seeing a significant number of oneworld Frequent Flyer Programme (FFP) members taking advantage of the MAS route network to redeem FFP miles. “In addition, our Enrich FFP members are also able to redeem their miles for travel on oneworld alliance airlines.
“We are also seeing an increase in interline and code-share traffic as a result of MAS joining oneworld. MAS is currently working on extending its code-sharing with BA, Latam Airlines, Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Air,'' replied MAS.
Those in the know said “there have been several rounds of talks between MAS and BA officials, and any deal could only be hammered out some time in July this year”.
As for Latam Airlines, a source reckoned any arrangement would only happen after the Latin American airlines completed its merger exercise, expected by the middle of this year.
Latam Airlines, incidentally, is the result of the merger between LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines in 2012.
MAS has a code-share with Qatar and Sri Lankan Air at the moment, and would be seeking to extend it on new routes. For now, it rides on Qatar for the KL-Doha connectivity, while Qatar rides on MAS' network domestically and to some regional points in Asia.
As for Sri Lankan Air, MAS carries its traffic to Australia from Kuala Lumpur.
MAS is currently flying double daily on the KL-London route using an A380, translating to about 900 seats daily, while BA flies to Singapore.
BA had a decade-old code-share with Qantas but cut it after the Australian carrier found a new partner in Emirates some months ago. Qantas used to carry BA's traffic from Singapore to Australian points.
Due to this, BA turned to Cathay Pacific for its traffic into Australia via Hong Kong.
But experts feel that a better option for BA would be to have a link from either Malaysia or Singapore for the Australian connectivity. Hence, it would make sense to have a code-share with MAS.
This week, even Air France chairman/chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac met up with MAS chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof to explore code-share possibilities for the KL-Paris route and beyond. Air France has returned to ply the KL-Paris route after 20 years with a thrice-weekly flight on a B777 while MAS flies daily using an A380.
A code-share agreement or code-share, is where two or more airlines share the same flight to save cost. Under a code-share arrangement, airlines can sell the seats as they are operating the route. Such arrangements allow greater access to cities through a partners' network without having to offer extra flights.
MAS has several code-share partners, but it is also a member of oneworld, which gives it access to new markets and routes. oneworld members include MAS, Qantas, BA, American Airlines, Cathay airberlin, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 20 affiliates, including Austria's NIKI, American Eagle and Dragonair.
Recently, MAS entered into a code-share with US-carrier American Airlines for 136 weekly connection options between Kuala Lumpur and the US cities of Chicago, Dallas, New York, Miami and Raleigh via any one of its three European stations, namely, London, Paris and Frankfurt.