Malaysia Airlines this week announced its new partnership with the Arab Air Carriers Organisation, a group that aims to promote “cooperation, quality and safety standards among the Arab airlines.”

Strengthening Ties

The airline joins existing partners International Airlines Group and Turkish Airlines and hopes the alliance will help grow its presence across North Africa and the Middle East. Izham Ismail, Malaysia Airlines’ CEO, commented:

“We are delighted to join the AACO as one of its partner airlines, further extending our reach and network to facilitate global air connectivity whilst elevating our brand presence within the Middle East and African region. At a time when uncertainty still lingers within the aviation industry, it is vital for us to leverage on our strategic partnerships as we anticipate the safe reopening of our borders.”

Ismail describes the move as one of his ‘key pillars’ for the airline’s long-term plan towards becoming one of the leading service providers in Asia.

Rebounding from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Malaysia Airlines has faced a string of high-profile hurdles in the wake of its renationalisation in 2014, and its recovery was hampered further by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing it to turn to the Malaysian government for a bailout in November 2020.

In an apparent silver lining, the slump in passengers did allow the airline the vital opportunity to focus on developing codeshare agreements, and in recent months it announced partnerships with Singapore Airlines and British Airways, among others.

The airline is hoping to expand on its already strong ties with other Islamic countries, as Malaysia itself comprises a predominantly Muslim population.

Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Amal, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, has offered a dedicated pilgrimage service to Mecca since 2018 | © Ömer F. Arslan

Amal, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the airline, is dedicated to offering flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah and Madinah in Saudia Arabia for Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage and has done so previously in direct collaboration with the Saudi government. What’s more, Malaysia’s partnership with the AACO follows a recent announcement that Amal will resume its pilgrimage services this year.

AACO Secretary General, Abdul Wahab Teffaha, praised Malaysia Airlines as a “pioneer of aviation” and expressed his enthusiasm over the news of the partnership:

“The Arab region’s ties to Malaysia have always been strong, and we hope that having Malaysia Airlines as a Partner Airline would strengthen those ties even more. I am confident that the collaboration will benefit both Malaysia Airlines and AACO alike.”

Does this new partnership mark the beginning of a strong recovery for Malaysia Airlines? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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