Malaysia Airlines plans to join SkyTeam global alliance

KUALA  LUMPUR (XFNews) - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) intends to join SkyTeam, a global air alliance, as part of its plan to rationalise its international destinations under a hub concept, Bernama news agency reported, citing managing director Idris Jala.

He said MAS would begin talks with SkyTeam next week.

SkyTeam, which currently has nine members, is one of three main global air alliances which allows member airlines to ride on each other's network to provide seamless connectivity for passengers.

The other alliances are Star Alliance and OneWorld.

Idris said MAS would be rationalising its destinations in Europe into four hubs or main trunk lines from 10 destinations presently, adding that the hub concept requires good bilateral arrangements.

Regarding domestic operations, Idris said MAS and low-cost carrier AirAsia are jointly seeking approval from the government to raise domestic airfares by 10 pct.

In addition, MAS has sought approval to raise fuel surcharge and to implement a 14 rgt per passenger administrative fee, which is already imposed by AirAsia, he said, adding the national carrier is waiting for the government's decision.

Idris said MAS would also like to have a free hand in restructuring its domestic operations and deciding on matters such as destinations, frequencies and fares in the domestic sector.

The government has its own objective not to curtail some of the routes such as those providing rural air services, but MAS' view is that if it continues to operate the unprofitable routes, there is a need to discuss government subsidy for them, he said.

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