Malaysia Airlines set for US return?

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd, an airline unit of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), is looking to resume codeshare partnerships with its US-based oneworld member American Airlines in the near future.

MAG group chief executive officer, Captain Izham Ismail said the move followed the reinstatement of Malaysia's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating to Category 1 (Cat1) by the US' Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on Oct 1 this year.

"With the reinstatement to Cat1, Malaysia Airlines looks forward to resume codeshare partnerships with U.S. based oneworld member, American Airlines," he told the New Straits Times.

Izham, however, did not mention exactly when the codeshare partnership would resume.

Malaysia's IASA rating was downgraded to Category 2 (Cat2) in 2019 after the FAA identified 58 International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards issues.

According to aviation portal, ch-aviation, 25 of the issues were immediately addressed. However, the remaining 33 issues were still apparent during a reassessment in the same year which resulted in the downgrade.

An airline from a Cat2 status country could continue operating to or from the US without being able to expand its service in the country. Cat2 also prevents new airline from the said country to commence flights to the US.

Although Malaysia has been reinstated with the Cat1 status, Izham said Malaysia Airlines had no short-term plan to resume any US route.

Instead, the national carrier will continue to leverage with its oneworld partners such as Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways.

Malaysia Airlines suspended its operations to the United States in 2014.

However, MAG's air cargo unit, MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd may offer non-schedule charters to the US upon demand.

"Similar to Malaysia Airlines, MASKargo has no short-term plan to fly to the US independently but will continue to work with its strategic airline partners. However, with the Cat1 reinstatement, MASKargo may now offer non-schedule charters to the US upon demand and remains agile in its network planning," Izham said.

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