Airpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 977 posts, RR: 24 Posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5393 times:
This is an excerpt from a media conference which appeared in the local Malaysian press yesterday with Malaysia Airlines CEO Idris Jala. From the sounds of it, AF stopped short of just saying "No" to MAS' entry into Skyteam...
"Jala, you had meetings in Amsterdam and France three weeks ago. What transpired there?
Jala: I met KLM and spoke about us being able to extend code-share arrangements with them. It was positive and we both expressed willingness to look at ways on how to expand our arrangements.
With regards to my meeting with the CEO of Air France, we were trying to find ways to be admitted into SkyTeam. It's a long process. If we wanted to join five years ago, it would be a walk in the park.
Now, with all the member airlines ensconced in the “club”, joining is not an easy thing to do. But we are looking at opportunities and where it makes sense for us to go. We must work harder on our hub-and-spoke model, for greater code sharing and connectivity with airlines."
I guess the door is never really closed anyway in this business.
For now, there is so much else to do at MAS; it's been barely months into the turnaround plan and the effect will not be known for a while yet. Is the yield issue sorted out? How did the load factor change with the recent fare increase? So the airline dropped 6 international destinations and cut back some frequencies, is that all? Did they manage to magically restore profitability in most of the other 60-odd international routes? What about the oversized fleet? I would guess that AF is asking some of these questions.
The airline still needs to sort out its Europe/America network, SkyTeam or not. A closer partnership with KLM to feed more of Europe seems to be a natural progression. Maybe the co-operation can be extended to transatlantic services; or maybe North America may be better served through a partnership with KE via ICN. CZ's CAN hub may offer a regional solution for e.g. BKI travelers. If MH can work out deals with these airlines while returning to financial health, the case for SkyTeam membership would be much stronger.