Malaysia Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Universal Charter Sendirian Berhad to offer charter flight services between the Kota Kinabalu and several locations in China that MAB’s network doesn’t reach.
180 Charters Agreed by MAB and Universal Charter
According to the agreement the two airlines signed there will be 180 charter flights operated from Kota Kinabalu Airport to airports in Chengdu, Nanning and Tianjin, with the entire charter service lasting from 15th December this year and until 31st March next one.
In a statement regarding the new service, Malaysia Airlines Head of Strategy and Planning Proteek Sengupta said:
We are excited to begin a partnership with Universal Charters which will enable Malaysia Airlines to strengthen its presence in China. This makes good business sense as we will be able to operate and build presence in one of the biggest tourism markets in the world .The collaboration will provide a seamless travel solution with the best travelling experience to our customers. Utilising our B737-800 for this service, passengers will experience better overall in-flight comfort.
Other Chinese Carriers Already Heading for Malaysia
A little while ago (about two weeks), another carrier from China, Spring Airlines, also revealed it will recommence operations to Malaysia, with Shanghai-Sabah flights starting on 25th October, 2015. The carrier canceled the service in April 2014 following the MH370 incident.
In addition to Spring Airlines, other companies in China are also connecting the two countries, including Air China, which recently relaunched Beijing to Kuala Lumpur service, which they stopped in 2012.
Some months ago, Shanghai Airlines also started offering direct flights to Kota Kinabalu.
The airline first launched the route in July 2013 and the charter flight had been popular with the passenger load factor reportedly exceeding 95%. It suspended the service in April last year after the MH370 tragedy.
Shanghai Airlines began offering direct flights linking Shanghai to Kota Kinabalu some months back.
National carrier Air China Ltd has also relaunched the Beijing-KL route four times weekly after ceasing services to KL in 2012.
Asia’s largest airline (in terms of fleet size and passenger carried) China Southern Airlines plans to add frequency for its current three-time daily Guangzhou-KL route soon.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Proteek Sengupta for MAB and Chairman of Universal Charter Rashid Khan, while MAB Manager for Charter Yazid Mohamed and CEO of Universal Charter Tan Han Soon witnessed the signing.