BRITISH AIRWAYS HOMECOMING TO MALAYSIA BOOSTS KLIA’S POSITION AS ONEWORLD SOUTH EAST ASIAN HUB
KUALA LUMPUR – At the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Kuala Lumpur on 17 September 2014, the announcement of British Airways return to KL International Airport was greeted with much euphoria and great enthusiasm, especially by the key Malaysia Airports Senior Management led by its Managing Director, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali.
Datuk Badlisham, who is still in his first hundred days of his new job at Malaysia Airports described this development as a major achievement for the company and is a fitting motivation for him to steer KLIA into an even greater aviation hub.
British Airways will commence its services to Kuala Lumpur on 27 May 2015 on a daily basis utilising the Boeing 777-200 airplane with a four-class cabin configuration. British Airways last operated to Kuala Lumpur in 2001 and the news of this airline returning to Malaysia could not have arrived at a better time for Malaysia’s aviation landscape.
British Airways will join the other European carriers who are currently operating to KLIA i.e. KLM Royal Dutch Airline, Lufthansa German Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Air France who have made Kuala Lumpur as one of their primary destinations in South East Asia.
Datuk Badlisham explained that due to Malaysia’s special and unique relationship with the United Kingdom, British Airways’ return to Malaysia will bring about profound impact to the existing good bilateral ties between the two countries and many more opportunities will be generated through this air service, be it in the economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.
Datuk Badlisham further shared that this delightful news is a culmination of relentless pursuit by Malaysia Airports for many years in engaging and persuading British Airways to resume its operations to KLIA. The Marketing team had established a good relationship with British Airways over the years with the necessary support from Malaysia Airports’ Board and Management, guided by the former Managing Director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad - currently Advisor for the company.
Jamie Cassidy, British Airways' area general manager for the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, said “It’s wonderful to be back in Malaysia. We are starting the new flights in response to strong customer demand for direct flights to Kuala Lumpur.”
“As Malaysia’s economy grows, it is becoming an even more important trading partner with the UK, and Britain has long been a favourite destination for Malaysians to shop, to experience historical sites and culture and to study. There’s no better time to fly with British Airways to London and beyond.”
British Airways future operations to KLIA is also a highly strategic coup for Malaysia Airports. With Malaysia Airlines joining the oneworld alliance last year, the addition of British Airways will further increase the presence of oneworld alliance partners at KLIA which currently also include Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and Japan Airlines. The transfer possibilities between British Airways and its present partners at KLIA particularly Malaysia Airlines, as well as other oneworld members not operating at KLIA will be multiplied through the code-share and interlining arrangements. Essentially, the entrance of network carriers such as British Airways into KLIA will enhance the airport’s connectivity and strengthen KLIA’s hub status, as these network carriers employ their hub-and-spoke business strategies.
Datuk Badlisham further elaborated that the success of British Airways homecoming to Malaysia was also attributed to the close cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Tourism & Culture, and to a large extent due to the smart partnership that Malaysia Airports had established with Tourism Malaysia.
Malaysia Airports will continue to replicate this winning formula in its other endeavours to lure more foreign airlines to KLIA as part of its aspiration to make KLIA a great airport hub and contribute towards the nation-building programme of Malaysia in achieving its Vision 2020.