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A Japan Airlines 787-9 departing. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines On Course to Launch Expanded Partnership

Amidst the continuing global pandemic, Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines are eager to overcome the obstacles of the current, revamped airline industry that is filled with uncertainty, major repercussions, temporary travel restrictions and new, transformative policies. Both carriers — which are a part of the Oneworld alliance, the world’s third-largest airline alliance — will support each other during this difficult time, in a joint business partnership launching July 25.

The two airlines have already signaled their intentions and goals prior to announcing the joint business partnership. The Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia-based carrier plans to resume its previous regiment flights to Japan throughout July, while both carriers will operate a combined total of four weekly flights between Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. The airlines hope these operations will serve as the building blocks for a sustainable business model between both carriers. 

In addition, both airlines are determined to exercise the highest standards in ensuring the travel experience is safeguarded against the virus for the passengers and employees. The efforts will allow both carriers to provide additional flight choices, a larger network, better connections and enhanced frequent flyer programs.  

Captain Izham Ismail, Group Chief Officer, Malaysia Airlines hopes that the relationship between the two airlines will provide seamless travel and be a positive contributor to both economies in both countries during this difficult time. 

“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,” Ismail said in a prepared statement. “Malaysia Airlines, being the country’s national airline, and Japan Airlines, 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.”

Yuji Akasaka, President of Japan Airlines, provided a sense of optimism between the two carriers being able to attract passengers back when they are prepared to travel again and providing them with an enhanced quality of service. 

“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.”

The Malaysian Aviation Commission and Japan’s Ministry of Land, Transport, and Tourism agreed upon and initiated the joint business partnership early last year, by granting an individual exemption and an antitrust immunity, respectively. 

The joint business partnership will also enable both carriers to coordinate and collaborate beyond the passenger market, in other operational areas, such as cargo and develop the tourism industries in both the Japanese and Malaysian markets. 


  • Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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