Malaysia Airlines remains focused on Oneworld membership

Singapore
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Malaysia Airlines has reiterated its aim to join the Oneworld alliance next year and hopes that it will coincide with the launch of its Airbus A380 service in 2012.

There was speculation in the country's media that the airline could reconsider its plan to join Oneworld or start talks with rival alliance SkyTeam after a revamp of its board and the exit of managing director and CEO Azmil Zahruddin earlier in August.

The changes came after AirAsia's parent Tune Air took a 20.5% stake in the network carrier and MAS' largest shareholder Khazanah International agreed to buy a 10% stake in the low-cost carrier.

Malaysia's flag carrier said it is "focused" on the original aim of joining Oneworld, saying that this will provide the best benefits.

"The airline is currently working diligently to meet the alliance requirements, to ensure that it becomes a full member soonest possible, subject to the relevant regulatory approvals being obtained," said MAS in a statement.

"MAS' impending Oneworld membership will also lead to easier transfers, code-shares, joint ventures and greater route access amongst alliance partners, as well as benefit passengers in terms of miles points, lounge and other rewards," it said.

The airline also said it is reviewing the product offerings on its long-haul A380 and Airbus A330 fleet to ensure that they are the "best-in-class".

This, and the Oneworld membership, will help it to become more profitable in 2012, said MAS.

"MAS is confident that revenues and yields would improve, and that 2012 would see a positive turnaround for the airlines finances," added the airline.

The carrier posted a net loss of ringgit (M$) 527 million ($177 million) in the three months ended 30 June 2011, compared with a net loss of M$535 million a year before. Its revenue increased by 8.5% to M$3.49 billion, but its operating loss widened to M$413 million from M$286 million as its expenses increased by 11.4% to M$3.9 billion.