Yesterday, I reported that Malaysia Airlines would be joining OneWorld Alliance. I emailed them with some questions, and got the following responses from Dato’ Dr Amin Khan, their Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy.
Q1. How will this affect your airline’s partnership with SkyTeam carriers, especially KLM whom you signed a close agreement with in December 2010?
A1. With Malaysia Airlines joining oneworld, it does not affect our relationship with other code share and JV partners.
Q2. In the same vein, will this affect plans to deploy the Airbus A380 to Amsterdam?
A2. On the contrary, our business case in deploying A380 to Amsterdam is further strengthened with us in oneworld
Q3. What proposed benefits will become available to both your frequent flyers and other OneWorld frequent flyers?
A3. Immediate benefits would be the ability to earn miles from all the alliance airlines and to redeem the points on these airlines
Members will also be able to go to destinations that are available on the networks of our airline and partner airlines of the alliance.
Nothing too smashing up above, but still cool to receive a response. Two things did strike me though. First, the airline says that “it does not affect” their “relationship with other codeshares and JV partners.” While I’d think that codeshares are perfectly fine with their alliance partners (most airlines have non-alliance codeshares), how are British Airways and Qantas going to feel about Malaysia Airlines pushing valuable Kangaroo route passengers onto KLM through their Joint Venture. While things are all rosy right now, I foresee that there may be more friction regarding this issue in the future.
Secondly, I find it odd that their joining OneWorld strengthens the business case for A380 service to Amsterdam. Previously, their most important European partner was KLM; especially on Australia-Europe sectors. But now Amsterdam is just one in a sea of potential European hubs (London-Heathrow, Helsinki, Madrid, Budapest?) for Malaysia Airlines to push passengers through. Conventional wisdom would dictate that adding new partners would not strengthen traffic to your already existing partners (when the two partners are in different alliances)