Malaysia Airlines celebrated the arrival of its inaugural direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Doha (MH160) at Hamad International Airport (HIA) at 11.50pm on Wednesday, marking a milestone in the airline’s international expansion plan.
Upon arrival at HIA, the A330-300 aircraft was welcomed with a water cannon salute, while passengers were given gifts upon their disembarkation. The event was co-hosted by HIA and Qatar Airways, the airline's codeshare partner.
Malaysian Ambassador in Doha, Zamshari Shaharan; Malaysia Airlines' Group chief marketing and customer experience officer, Lau Yin May; HIA's senior vice president (Operations), Ioannis Metsovitis and Qatar Airways senior vice president (Eastern Regions), Marwan Koleilat were present to greet the first 274 passengers who arrived at HIA at 11.50pm.
Prior to the arrival, a sending-off event was organised in KL International Airport. Group Chief Operations Officer of MAB, Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi; together with senior officials from Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) distributed goodies to passengers departing on MH160 bound for Doha at 9:20pm local time.
Yin May said, “Today marks another milestone for the national airline as we commence our new daily service from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Doha, Qatar. We are delighted to introduce this new service, our third direct flight to the Middle East after Jeddah and Madinah, further providing greater convenience to customers and widening our global footprint for seamless connectivity.
“We recorded a very encouraging load factor for the inaugural flight with 80% of passengers booking for both MH160 and MH161 and glad to see encouraging forward booking reaching 80%, which reflects more substantial consumer confidence to travel and in choosing to fly with Malaysia Airlines for this route.
“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, the US and Australia/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, 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."
Malaysia Airlines will operate daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Doha, operated by the A330-300 with 290 seats, comprising of 27 seats in business class and 263 seats in economy.