Air Transport World

MAS overcomes image problems. (Malaysia Airlines System is making a profit)

MAS overcomes image problems

Fully established as one of Southeast Asia's major carriers, Malaysian Airline System (MAS) no longer suffers from confusion with Singapore Airlines. Identity has come slowly for Malaysia's flag airline. Both MAS and SIA operated under the name of Singapore-Malaysian Airlines (MSA) from 1967 to 1971, when the partnership was dissolved because of differences in the Malaysia and Singapore governments. It was decided each government should operate its own national airline, and MAS was founded. Unfortunately almost all the assets, including the management and technical base, were in Singapore.

So MAS' start was not easy and initially the airline had no "image,' while SIA lost no time in consolidating its position and launching a massive promotional campaign. MAS had an extensive domestic system to operate in both Western and Eastern Malaysia, connecting the two parts of the nation separated by between 500 and 1,000 miles of the South China Sea.

Today MAS remains a huge domestic operator: About half of the five million passengers it carried in its fiscal year ended March 31, 1984, were domestic although international revenue at 708 million ringgits (U.S. $308 million) was considerably higher than the 231 million ringgits ($100 million) coming from domestic operations.

The expansion of MAS' international operation has been spectacular and the airline now serves 22 foreign points stretching westward to London, eastward to Sydney and northward to Tokyo. By far the busiest route is the 200-mile Kuala Lumpur-Singapore run where there is a shuttle service operated jointly with Singapore Airlines. …

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