PETALING JAYA (April 10): Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) said it would launch Project Amal as early as the fourth quarter of this year.
Project Amal is the airline’s special charter service to cater specifically for Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
The new charter airline which has yet to be named, will be registered as a separate entity with a different logo, colour scheme and staff. It will become a 100% subsidiary of Malaysia Aviation Group.
“Project Amal is on track. We are hoping to launch it earliest in the fourth quarter of this year or first quarter of 2019,” group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said at a press conference earlier, adding it is currently in the process of obtaining regulatory approvals.
The airline earlier signed a 3 year agreement with Andalusia Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd to transport Malaysian pilgrims to Madinah and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during the Umrah season, beginning August this year until 2021.
The agreement will see Malaysian Airlines providing up to 200 charter flights over three years, utilising the airline’s superjumbo A380-800 that can accommodate up to 484 passengers per flight. Flights can be booked at a competitive price through Andalusia Travel & Tours.
“Malaysia Airlines has worked closely with the Saudi authorities to secure slot allocation for both inbound and outbound travel at major airports in Saudi Arabia, namely King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, and Prince Mohammad Abdul Aziz International Airport, Madinah,” Izham said.
“This three year agreement is testament to the excellent service we deliver to ensure the well being of pilgrims throughout their journey. This year, we have committed to 65 flights with over 42,000 seats with Andalusia Travel & Tours.
“We have about 350,000 seats a year. Our partnership with Andalusia gives 40% of that capacity,” Izham said.
Andalusia Travel & Tours is one of several travel agents that Malaysia Airlines has partnered with, for this charter service.
Izham added that the agreement will eventually be novated from Malaysia Airlines to Project Amal, once the new airline meets all regulatory and licensing requirements in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.