Malaysia Airlines Flies to New Destinations During COVID-19
KLIA, 22 October 2020: As Malaysia remains under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) and Conditional MCO in certain states, closing its borders to foreigners and citizens from leaving due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Malaysia Airlines continues its rescue and repatriation mission, transporting stranded citizens back to their home countries. The situation has brought upon opportunities for the national carrier to fly to new cities outside its usual network, which include international destinations across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and even Africa such as Cam Rahn, South Sudan, Cairo, Turkmenbashi, Turkmenabat, Dili, Nadi and Port Moresby where few commercial flights are available. To date, the airline has successfully operated 218 rescue and repatriation flights through scheduled and chartered services since March 2020, utilising its A380, A350, A330-300 and B737-800 aircraft.
Group Chief Operations Officer of Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi said, “Out of the 218 flights, 168 were charter services through strategic collaboration with government ministries and individual organisations. So far, we have flown over 20,000 passengers safely back to their loved ones.
It has been a challenging yet exciting experience for us to operate in these new markets under the current circumstances, due to the ever-changing health and safety requirements as well as strict border controls by the respective countries. However, active engagements with the respective embassies, ministries, government agencies and regulatory bodies have made it possible.”
Over the same period, the airline's sister company, MABkargo has worked closely with governments and Non-Governmental-Organisations (NGOs) to transport over 2,000 tonnes of medical equipment and disaster-relief provisions to impacted regions around the globe. This includes ventilators, surgical gloves, sterile isolation gowns and protection suits with goggles for various organisations via over 50 Passenger-to-Cargo (P2C) and Cargo in Cabin (CIC) flights. The CIC allows the airline to carry cargo on seats, overhead stowage compartments, closets and under the seats depending on the size of the boxes.
The MABkargo team toiled hard to ensure all shipments are delivered according to schedule, resulting in the gradual improvement of the Company’s export throughput numbers. The encouraging trend has eventually increased the numbers whereby the export throughput figures in August 2020 have now matched pre-COVID -19 level, contributed by the reopening of more economic sectors and the usage of P2C flights to compensate the loss of belly capacity.
Added Luqman, “The demand for medical equipment worldwide has kept our aircraft flying and our cargo terminals busy. Our freighter schedules are adjusted to meet customers’ requirements. Despite lesser flights in the network, we continue to support the value-chain of day-to-day business and ensure minimal disruptions.”
Recently, Malaysia Airlines also had the honour of flying the first and second batch of the Malaysian Armed Forces’ Malaysian Battalion 850-8 (Malbatt 850-8) for a peacekeeping mission to Lebanon under the United Nations Interim Force. Three pilots and ten cabin crew operated the flights that departed from the TUDM base in Subang to Lebanon utilising Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus 330-200 aircraft.