Malaysia Airlines, Brahim's part ways

Malaysia Airlines and Brahim's Holdings Bhd unit Brahim's Food Services Sdn Bhd (BFS) are going separate ways at the end of the month, bringing an end to an in-flight catering partnership signed 26 years ago.

Malaysia Airlines' parent, Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), said all in-flight services provided by Brahim's will end on June 30.

"Malaysia Airlines regrets to confirm that the airline has been served with a notice of service discontinuation from BFS on June 6, 2023 for in-flight catering services in Kuala Lumpur which will indirectly end its legacy partnership on June 30, 2023.

"This notice indicates that all catering services provided by BFS on selected domestic and international routes on Malaysia Airlines' network will cease effective July 1, 2023," an MAG spokesman told the New Straits Times.

MAG said it resumed the contract renewal process with BFS last November after BFS conditionally regained its licence from the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

Discussions were held with a view to achieving a balanced business proposition that will benefit MAG, BFS and consumers.

"After undergoing an extensive and protracted negotiation process to conclude a renewal of contract, MAG regrets having received such notice abruptly from BFS without the parties reaching a mutually agreeable arrangement that would enable Malaysia Airlines to continue serving the nation seamlessly without any service disruption," MAG said.

Following the notice, MAG immediately activated a business continuity plan to offer alternative food and beverage (F&B) options on flights temporarily to minimise impact on customer comfort and experience from July 1.

The company said it is reviewing other local reputable F&B service providers that share the same goal as Malaysia Airlines to provide a premium customer experience.

The service providers will need to deliver in-flight offerings onboard Malaysia Airlines' flights departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport's Terminal 1.

MAG is also looking into setting up in-house F&B services within its subsidiaries in the future.

"MAG remains steadfast in its quest and commitment to providing a premium customer experience from our service providers and suppliers.

"MAG regrets any inconvenience our customers may face throughout this period and is committed to ensuring the best possible experience for our customers," the group said.

On Wednesday, the NST reported that Malaysia Airlines would handle its own in-flight catering using one of its sister companies, MAS Awana, if the company and BFS failed to reach an agreement by June 30.

Sources said some in-house work, such as transporting meals to aircraft, would be sub-contracted to a new vendor as MAS Awana has not reached the capacity to do all the work on its own.

MAS Awana, formerly MAS Catering (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, has been catering in-flight meals for Malaysia Airlines, MASwings and foreign carriers at Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Sabah.

The company also caters F&B for Malaysia Airlines' Golden Lounges at Terminal 1.

The new vendor is believed to be Pos Aviation In-flight Catering, a subsidiary of Pos Aviation Sdn Bhd.

One of Pos Aviation's clients is MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd, the cargo unit of MAG. Pos Aviation provides flight catering services to MAB Kargo crew.

The NST learnt that Pos Aviation can only produce less than 10,000 meals per day. Currently, BFS provides some 20,000 meals per day to Malaysia Airlines.

Brahim's group chief executive officer Mohd Fadhli Abdul Rahman told the NST that the company received its operating licence from Mavcom last October.

He said Mavcom had rejected its applications between 2020 and 2021 due to Brahim's financial situation at the time.

On BFS' future if it end its ties with Malaysia Airlines, he said it will continue serving 35 foreign airlines and search for new airline clients.

The foreign carriers include Qatar Airways, Emirates and All Nippon Airways.

"Are we able to continue on without Malaysia Airlines? Can we survive without Malaysia Airlines? I admit we will be struggling. Definitely, we will, but we will find ways to survive.

"If we discontinue our service, my concern is how are they going to do it by themselves? I'm not saying that they are not capable of doing it on their own.

"Looking at how massive the in-flight catering operation is and the expertise needed, we would like to extend our help because running an in-flight catering service is unlike running a restaurant or event catering service."

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