Beyond the Tarmac
Malaysian tourism sector is expected to gain considerably with the launch of Malaysian Airlines direct daily flights to Doha and its “deep code share” with Qatar Airways.
Pre-pandemic, in 2019, Malaysia received 397,726 tourists from Mena region, according to Tourism Malaysia.
Tourism Malaysia places a strong emphasis on attracting tourists from Qatar and elsewhere in the GCC following the reopening of the Southeast Asian country’s borders for international tourists on April 1, 2022.

Malaysian Airlines Group chief marketing & customer experience officer Lau Yin May. PICTURE: Thajudheen

Now that the country’s borders are fully open again, officials are confident that they will witness a strong rebound in tourism numbers, to bolster the recovery of Malaysian economy.
Qatar Airways already operates non-stop flights to Malaysia.
Malaysian Airlines Group chief marketing & customer experience officer Lau Yin May said, “The crucial expansion to Doha will allow us to extend the Malaysian hospitality, which proudly embodies our culture and traditions through superior service and offerings.”
She said, “As a leisure and tourism player, we are delighted to play a significant role in attracting a mixture of business and leisure passengers globally and provide seamless connectivity to financial capitals and major tourist destinations in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
“Through our existing partnership with Qatar Airways, passengers will also gain access to a combined 96 codeshare destinations via the two strategic hubs – Doha and Kuala Lumpur, which will further boost the recovery of the sector as we work towards achieving 70% of our pre-Covid-19 capacity by the end of the year.”
Speaking to Gulf Times, Yin May said travellers from Qatar and elsewhere could make use of ‘MHholidays’, the tour operating arm of Malaysia Airlines.
“We offer products and services that enable guests to tailor-make holidays with the combination of flights, accommodation, ground transfer services as well as holiday packages in a single platform,” Yin May said.
On the recent expanded partnership with Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines oneworld alliance partner, she said, “As air travel recovers it is vital for airlines to foster stronger relationships. Besides expanding the scope of destinations, tightening ties between countries and enhancing passenger services, partnerships will help rebuild traffic, boost the recovery and resume faster frequencies up to pre-pandemic level.”
Recently, Malaysian Airlines and Qatar Airways have unveiled the roadmap outlining the next phase of their strategic partnership, following Malaysia Airlines’ announcement to launch a non-stop service from Kuala Lumpur to Doha from May 25.
The two partners will significantly expand their codeshare co-operation, allowing passengers to travel the world and enjoy seamless connectivity via their leading hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Doha.
The codeshare expansion, which adds 34 destinations to the existing 62 codeshare destinations, marks another milestone in the long-standing relationship between the two countries' national carriers and oneworld partners.
The agreement benefits travellers from across the globe who will have access to a much greater combined network and enjoy a seamless travel experience on both airlines with a single ticket including check-in, boarding and baggage-check processes, frequent flyer benefits and world-class lounge access for the entire journey.
Starting May 25, customers flying on Malaysia Airlines’ new Kuala Lumpur to Doha service will have access to some 62 codeshare destinations within Qatar Airways' broad network to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.
Likewise, Qatar Airways customers travelling from Doha to Kuala Lumpur can seamlessly transfer to some 34 Malaysia Airlines’ destinations including their entire domestic network and key markets in Asia, such as Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Ho Chi Minh City, subject to governmental approval.
In linking both route networks, the partners are striving to develop Kuala Lumpur as a leading aviation hub in the Southeast Asia Region connecting Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand with the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Furthermore, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines will leverage synergies across multiple business areas and develop innovative products to benefit their customers worldwide.
The enhanced co-operation will also include reciprocal loyalty benefits allowing Qatar Airways Privilege Club members to earn and redeem ‘Avios’ points when flying on Malaysia Airlines, with similar benefits for Malaysia Airlines ‘Enrich’ members when travelling on Qatar Airways’ services.
Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways’ strategic partnership evolved progressively beginning 2001 and have significantly expanded the collaborative partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in February this year to leverage each other’s network strengths and provide robust access for passengers to travel to new destinations beyond their individual network, and ultimately lead Asia-Pacific travel.
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