Malaysia Air Seals 90-City Emirates Deal, Drops Paris, Amsterdam

Malaysia Air Agrees to Code-Share Deal With Emirates
  • Accord to fill gaps in network after CEO's Europe retreat
  • Carrier cancels 10 code-share accords with existing partners

Malaysian Airlines agreed a mammoth code-share deal with Dubai-based Emirates, the world’s biggest international carrier, allowing it to sell tickets to more long-haul destinations while scrapping unprofitable routes.

The accord covers more than 90 locations in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa served via Emirates’s Gulf hub, according to the airline, which will sever 10 code-share agreements with existing partners and drop its own direct flights to Paris and Amsterdam next year.

The deal gives the Malaysian carrier access to Europe without incurring “monumental losses,” Chief Executive Officer Christoph Mueller said in a phone interview Wednesday. Mueller, who took over in March, has already trimmed capacity by 30 percent and cut thousands of jobs as he seeks to revive a company racking up losses even before two high-profile crashes in 2014.

“Our network architecture is largely complete with this move,” he said. “It’s a very, very big and important piece in our puzzle.”

The tie-up with Emirates also fills a hole in European coverage left by the dropping of a “kangaroo-route-centric” approach, Mueller said, referring to the traditional model of linking Europe with Australia via cities in southeast Asia.

The Malaysian Air code will appear on Emirates flights to 38 European destinations, as well as 15 locations in the U.S. and 38 in the Gulf, Africa and Indian Ocean, according to the statement. Emirates will gain access to some 300 daily flights.

Malaysian dropped services to Istanbul and Frankfurt earlier this year as it eschews longer routes in an effort to make Kuala Lumpur a hub for the fast-growing regional travel market that includes China and Vietnam.

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