Malaysia Airlines will become a full member of oneworld with effect from Friday, 1 February, 2013.
The national airline of Malaysia has received clearance to become a full member of oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness conducted by Qantas Airways, which is sponsoring Malaysia Airlines’ entry into the alliance, with the oneworld central team.
While its alliance implementation program is on track for completion in the coming weeks, Malaysia Airlines’ addition to oneworld is being held until the beginning of 2013 to avoid the end-of-year holiday season and for other administrative reasons.
From February 1, the 2 million members of Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich loyalty program will, in effect, have their frequent flyer privileges extended to whenever they fly with any oneworld member airline – Airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and some 25 affiliated airlines.
This includes earning and redeeming mileage awards and earning tier status points when flying with all these airlines.
(However, because of an upgrade to LAN Airlines’ frequent-flyer information technology system being implemented shortly after Malaysia Airlines joins oneworld, frequent-flyer services and benefits between Malaysia Airlines and LAN will be available from April 1, 2013.
Enrich Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the oneworld program. Enrich Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and Enrich Silver will be equivalent to oneworld Ruby.
From February 1, Enrich Platinum and Gold members will be able to use any of the 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines whenever they fly with any of the alliance’s carriers. Malaysia Airlines’ First and Business Class passengers will also be able to use oneworld partner airline lounges.
Also from February 1, the 125 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programs will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on Malaysia Airlines.
Malaysia Airlines is already participating in Global Explorer, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld members and various airlines that are not part of the alliance. From February 1, Malaysia Airlines’ network – which serves more than 60 destinations in nearly 30 countries – will be covered by oneworld’s full range of alliance fares and sales products.
The new member will substantially expand the alliance’s network in Southeast Asia, where it will add 14 destinations and one country – Brunei – to the oneworld map. More significantly, Malaysia Airlines will strengthen the alliance’s connectivity between many key business cities in Asia and other parts of the world, according to oneworld.
Its addition will expand oneworld’s global coverage to some 840 destinations in 156 countries, served by some 9,000 departures a day. These are operated by a combined fleet of some 2,500 aircraft, carrying nearly 340 million passengers a year, generating annual revenues of US$110 billion.
Adding oneworld’s other members elect – Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines – and the alliance network includes 856 destinations in 159 countries.
Currently three of oneworld’s active member airlines serve three points in Malaysia, with Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian flying to Kuala Lumpur; Cathay Pacific operating to Penang, a tourism island off Malaysia’s northwest coast; and its Dragonair regional affiliate to Kota Kinabalu in the East Malaysia state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
Malaysia Airlines’ oneworld implementation program has represented one of the most extensive projects in the airline’s history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity.
According to oneworld, projects are nearing completion to bring Malaysia Airlines’ various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance’s requirements.
Extensive employee training and communications programs are now underway at Malaysia Airlines and the alliance’s existing members, to ensure they are ready to provide oneworld’s customer services and benefits across the expanded alliance from February 1.
Malaysia Airlines started operations in 1947. Today, it serves more than 60 destinations in almost 30 countries across Asia, Australasia, Middle East, Europe, and North America, including oneworld hubs Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo Haneda and Narita.
Its present fleet of 88 aircraft – including its flagship Airbus A380s – operates more than 250 departures a day. Malaysia Airlines boarded 13 million passengers in 2011, generating revenues of MYR 13.6 billion (US$4.5 billion).