Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines have joined forces to provide robust connectivity between their respective countries. By partnering on routes between Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo, both airlines can spread the risk, without reducing frequency of flights. It could be a move we see repeated around the world as airlines begin planning for a post-COVID recovery.
A new joint venture
Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines have announced the launch of a joint venture to cooperate on flights between the two countries. Due to klick off on July 25th, the airlines will work closely to offer a combined total of four weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Tokyo (Narita) in Japan, throughout the rest of July and August.
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In a joint statement released on the matter, the airlines said,
“This initiative will enable MH and JL to enhance their capabilities, and leverage on each other’s strengths. The carriers shared best practices and responsibilities are in line with a sustainable business model in the long haul. With JL’s renowned precision in service and offerings, combined with MH’s signature Malaysian Hospitality, customers are promised of the best travel experience.”
Both airlines will be implementing strict protection measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among passengers and crew. The airlines will also partner on flexible fares, to allow passengers the freedom to alter travel plans with no penalty.
Details of the flights
The flights will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday from Kuala Lumpur, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from Tokyo. The current schedules filed are as follows:
- From Kuala Lumpur, MH70 will leave at 09:15 on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout July and August. It arrives into Tokyo at 17:25.
- From Kuala Lumpur, JL724will leave at 22:50 on Tuesdays and Fridays, arriving in Tokyo at 07:55 the next day.
- From Tokyo, MH71 departs on Mondays and Thursdays throughout July and August at 10:15. It arrives into Kuala Lumpur at 16:20.
- From Tokyo, JL723 will operate on Mondays and Thursdays in July, but will switch to Wednesdays and Saturdays from August 1st. It leaves Narita at 11:20, arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 17:45.
Both airlines seem positive about the move and see it as a huge benefit in the post-COVID recovery period. In the joint statement, Captain Izham Ismail, Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines said,
“I am excited that the Joint Business is finally taking off after a few months of delay due to travel restrictions between both countries. We look forward to the bilateral discussions between the governments of Malaysia and Japan to establish a travel bubble between the two countries, which will ease restrictions for cross-border travel. MH being the country’s national airline and JL, play a crucial role in reviving the economy and we are confident that this synergy will facilitate commerce, trade, and boost tourism for both countries.”
His thoughts were echoed by the President of Japan Airlines, Yuji Akasaka, who said,
“We are pleased to announce our newest joint business partnership with fellow oneworld member, Malaysia Airlines. While our expanded relationship is being launched during unprecedented times, it has allowed both Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines to ensure the highest standards of safety and hygiene are in place from the onset for our mutual customers’ peace of mind. And with hospitality in mind, we are confident that customers will delight in the in-flight experience and enjoy convenient flight schedules and seamless services.”
When times are tough and it’s hard to predict which way travel demand will go, these types of burden sharing agreements are a great solution. Neither airline has to take the risk of operating daily flights, but between them they are maintaining vital connectivity to keep the flow of passengers and cargo between the two countries stable.
As we press through this slow recovery period, it’s likely we’ll see more similar joint ventures emerging in time.