Happy 40th Birthday, Malaysia Airlines

Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman at the officiation of Malaysia Airlines System 1 Oct 1972

Forty years ago today, then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman officiated the newly born Malaysian Airline System (MAS).

It came as a result from the separation of Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, where Singapore wanted to concentrate on the international routes and full commercialization. Malaysia, was very committed to the national integration agenda and logistics and communication within Malaysia played a primary role.

How it started, Malaysia Airlines System B737-200

Business commenced at 4.30pm on 1 October 1972 from Subang International Airport with only six B737-200 to service its regional operations and and six F27 for domestic services. MAS now painfully has to re-build its international destinations, especially all the lucrative routes landing rights’ went to SIA, such as London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney. Captain Hassan Ahmad, the first Malay commercial airline captain certified by DCA, commandeered flight MH 601 to Singapore Paya Lebar Airport at this historic moment. Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman solemnise the event, of behalf of the Malaysian Government.

Captain Hassan later rose to be Director of Flight Operations. He also captained MAS’s first wide bodied aircraft when McDonald Douglass DC-10-30 started operations serving the ‘Kangaroo Route’ (LHR-KUL-SYD) and Tokyo Narita (TYO).

The image which etched into the minds of many Malaysians; the remains of a much loved Malaysian Prime Minister arriving from London

Malaysia Airlines started operating to London Heathrow (LHR) from 1 July 1974. Many may not remember this service. However, the memory of Jalur Gemilang draped casket taken out from the left aft door of the MAS B707 special return flight from London carrying the remains of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Haji Abdul Razak Hussein on 15 January 1976 have been etched in the minds of hundreds of thousands Malaysians, including tens of thousands throng the Subang International Airport that evening.

Malaysia Airlines have been very dedicated in playing the primary role to ensure the national integration agenda is fulfilled. Malaysia has become a smaller place when Malaysians are able to travel in the far reaches destination, even in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.

Malaysian troops wearing the colours of UN peacekeepers as part of the UNIFIL, boarding a chartered Malaysia Airlines flight at Subang for Beirut. It is a B777-200 (9M-MRP).

Malaysia Airlines annually brought tens of thousands of Hajj pilgrims to the Holy Land. Malaysian troops, serving posts in Sabah, Sarawak or any other missions abroad which include under United Nations, have been ferried by Malaysia Airlines.

Malaysia Airlines saw uppers and downers the past forty years. At its peak, it served 90 destinations in six continents over 400 flights per week flying the Jalur Gemilang on the ‘Nine Mike’ tailed aircrafts, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and every week in the year. It serves not only as a tier 1 premium national carrier for Malaysia but also as an extension to the Malaysian trade overseas. Most importantly, it serves with dedication as an extension of Malaysia’s foreign policy.

Fulfilling national obligations

It is important to go back to the reason for Malaysia Airlines’ formation under the flight code of MH. Malaysia Airlines will continue to fulfill those 5 national obligations.

a. To provide the people of Malaysia with an efficient and profitable air transport system which enhances the standing of the nation and the policies of the government.

b. To develop an efficient domestic service within Malaysia which also directly links Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaysia and contributes to the economic and social integration of the country as a whole

c. To select, train and develop local personnel using the most up-to-date and appropriate managerial techniques.

d. To provide simultaneously competitive and profitable international services which support Malaysia’s trade, tourism and other activities.

e. To contribute meaningfully to national aspirations and foster an organization which is in harmony with the multi-racial objectives of Malaysia.

Malaysia Airlines first A380-800 getting the traditional welcome at KLIA, as it arrives from Airbus Centre, Toulouse, France 29 June 2012

It is time to move forward. Malaysia Airlines has to move away from all its legacy issues and change its ways of doing things. They are now able to offer new products as new assets such as the A380-800s, A330-300s and B737-800s starting to begin service and replacing old and lesser efficient aircrafts. The current fleet is 107 aircrafts where the assets would be rationalized as new assets are delivered. For example, as the third and fourth A380s start to operate, the remaining five fuel guzzling B747-400s would be retired with the last one operating KUL-SYD MH122 on 25 November.

The entire organization has to buck up and operate with lower cost as the new assets, new products and more aggressive marketing strategies and plan are put in place and executed, to bring in the much needed revenue and beef the cash position. They also needed to be creative enhancing their products and services. From November, twice daily flights to and return from London Heathrow would operate the A380-800s.

Malaysia Airlines new workhorse, B737-800

Malaysia Airlines is expected to join the One World alliance soon. This will provide better network and relationship with 12 other airlines, serving 810 destinations and a market size of 288 million passengers carried per annum. This is on top of the current 31 code share partners, of which five of them are part of the Star Alliance.

They say “Life begins at forty”. Now that Malaysia Airlines reached forty years and having a new lease of life, they should make the best of it. And so they shall. They will provide the world renown ‘Malaysian Hospitality’ and ‘Go Beyond Expectations’, as how they have done it last forty years.

Happy 40th Birthday, Malaysia Airlines. God bless.

Some of our earlier postings on Malaysia Airlines

*Updated 230pm



Monday, 1 Oct 2012, Kelana Jaya: Malaysia Airlines today celebrates its 40th anniversary of Malaysian Hospitality delivered to millions of guests from the day it took off as Malaysian Airline System Berhad on 1 October 1972.

The national flag carrier of Malaysia had its journey then mandated by the government of Malaysia to fulfil five national obligations.

a. To provide the people of Malaysia with an efficient and profitable air transport system which enhances the standing of the nation and the policies of the government.

b. To develop an efficient domestic service within Malaysia which also directly links Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaysia and contributes to the economic and social integration of the country as a whole

c. To select, train and develop local personnel using the most up-to-date and appropriate managerial techniques.

d. To provide simultaneously competitive and profitable international services which support Malaysia’s trade, tourism and other activities.

e. To contribute meaningfully to national aspirations and foster an organization which is in harmony with the multi-racial objectives of Malaysia.

Today, from its humble beginnings with a modest fleet strength of 6 Boeing 737-200 jets, 9 Fokker Friendship 27 and 3 Britten Norman Islanders, the airline has now grown to be the undisputed flying ambassador of Malaysia spreading its wings to 76 destinations across the globe.

It flies an average of 37,000 passengers on around 300 flights daily using an evolving fleet of the most advanced jet aircraft, delivering 5-star airline service through the world’s Best Cabin Staff.

At the event today in Kelana Jaya to commemorate 40 years of Malaysian Hospitality, the national carrier’s Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya paid tribute to the founding fathers for their vision to evolve a truly national airline to deliver the government’s promise of an organisation that contributed to the economic growth of Malaysia and also developing a highly skilled workforce from amongst the locals who are much sought after now globally.

“Over the years, Malaysia Airlines has seen much success, many highs and some lows. Today, Malaysia Airlines is synonymous for its Malaysian Hospitality or MH brand. MH is not just our airline code. ‘MH’ is Malaysian Hospitality,” he said.

“We are now known globally for this exclusivity, and we pay tribute of this success to the thousands and thousands of Malaysia Airlines employees, whom over the years and till today have worked together to demonstrate Malaysian Hospitality,” he added.

Contd/Page 2

The airline has built itself a strong brand name in the aviation industry for superior service and flight safety since 1 October 1972. It holds a lengthy record of service and best practices excellence, receiving more than 100 awards in the last 10 years from international bodies such as the UK based independent research consultancy firm, Skytrax.

This year, Malaysia Airlines marked the entry of its first A380 into the airline’s fleet by having its 5-Star Airline status renewed by Skytrax. The recognition comes at a time of great change within the national airline of Malaysia as it embarks on a series of improvements to repositioning it as a premium carrier.

This includes a thorough process to upgrade the momentum of 5-Star quality service delivery across all customer touch-points of the airline.

At its home base in KL International Airport, Malaysia Airlines’ First and Business class hospitality facilities in its flagship International Golden Lounge have been totally refitted to deliver a true 5-Star Lounge experience with many new and exciting amenities and services offered to customers.

To commemorate the 4 decades of flying as Malaysia Airlines and delivering the world renowned Malaysian Hospitality, the national flag carrier will launch a series of year-long activities to celebrate the 40 years of support from customers and staff.

Ahmad Jauhari provided a sneak preview of the delights by stating, “For the next 12 months, expect special commemorative gifts on flights, special menus and surprises at the Check-in and at Boarding. We’ll have open days for guests to see ‘behind-the-scenes’ operations at our engineering hangar, a special flight for underprivileged children and more. Also look forward to one of our aircraft that will be painted with our special ‘40 years of Malaysian Hospitality’ livery, an extra special guest experience for our customers who get to fly in that plane”.

He also added that, “Malaysia Airlines formal alliance membership of oneworld will be completed soon and the national carrier will start flying as part of the alliance by the turn of the year. The prospect of being able to offer improved global coverage and connectivity through an expanded network of great airlines to Malaysia Airlines’ guests is indeed very exciting. Our customers, in particular members of Enrich loyalty programme, will benefit from increased rewards and recognition whilst enjoying more seamless air travel options”.

This full membership in the alliance will improve the airline’s brand awareness amongst the alliance members’ customers and enhance load factors through additional partner traffic. These in turn will drive the hub connectivity to facilitate Malaysia Airlines global reach through oneworld’s network of some 800 destinations in 150 countries. The membership will be among the significant catalysts that will complement the airline’s efforts to win back customers and become a profitable preferred premium carrier as outlined in its Business Plan revealed on 7 December 2011.


Published in: on October 1, 2012 at 09:30  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great!, Happy Birthday Malaysia Airlines.

  2. Happy Doomday MAS.Najib should windup MAS and let Air Asia take over all the MAS route.We dont need national Airline.Swiss Air gone,Air France gone,Pan Am gone,Air India gone.

    Air Asia doing a good job bringing all the tourist to Malaysia.Everybody can fly.


    u r my pride ….

    love u so much …… mmuuuuuuuuahhhh.

  4. […] Today is MAS 40th Anniversary.To reflect back on it’s past 40 years, do read history and aviation buff Bigdog’s latest posting here. […]

  5. Happy birthday MAS! My wish is please don’t ask for bailout with our tax money again adn please give us PROFIT in next quater though I know this is a fat hope.

  6. salam, tahniah MAS.. saya minta tuan bangkitkan bagaimana sektor awam dan agensinya lenih gemar menggunakan perkhidmatan AIR ASIA berbanding MAS kini atas alasan penjimatan. padahal jika dihitung penjimatannya tidak lah sebanyak mana malahan kadang2 Air Asia lebih mahal daripada MAS. saya minta perkara ini didiedahkan kepada kerajaan. biar hasil yang kerajaan akhirnya dapat pada kerajaan balik bukan individu.

  7. Happy Birthday MH!

    Had a lot of very fond memories flying with you. Remembered very well first time I stepped into the B737-200 fuselage in Subang, in 1973. How excited I was! Didn’t even start school yet!

    You were there when I was send abroad to study. You brought me back when I completed my studies. You took the Mrs & I for our honeymoon. You welcome our six months year old baby when we flew her to a different continent. Nowadays, you take us for our annual holidays.

    Thank you. We will always be there for you.

  8. Bigdog,

    I posted the same comment in Rocky’s Bru.

    Didnt realise its been 40 yrs of MAS. Malaysians should be grateful & appreciative of our national carrier. Our lives are somewhat affected by MAS in one way or another.

    What ever shortcomings or troubles MAS got into over the years, Malaysians should treat MAS as if she is family & do what families usually do; do their best to help her.

    Talk is cheap. Too much talk already. It’s bloody easy to criticise & blame. Try rehabilitate or turn around.

    Yes, things could be better. No doubt about that. But we all should ask ourselves; what hv we done in recent times to ensure MAS as a family member is getting the best assistance each of us could do for her.

    How hv we helped MAS besides talk, talk, talk & more talk?

    P/S: I’m proud to say, in all my three trips this year & also last year’s three trips to Europe, I flew MAS all the way. I’m so proud to see the MAS tail whenever I’m in an airport abroad. Most of all, the moment I step into a MAS plane, I already feel at home. Even tho home is almost 7,000 miles away!

  9. […] Malaysia Airlines celebrated its 40th anniversary. To many of the workforce, the BOD without Fernandes is something to be […]

  10. […] Malaysia Airlines unveiled a new B737-800 in original Malaysian Airline System livery. It is part of Malaysia Airlines 40th anniversary celebrations. […]

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