Japan Airlines (JAL) and Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) have signed a memorandum of understanding on a joint business agreement on flights between Malaysia and Japan.

Through this agreement, the airlines aim to enhance the quality of customer service provided by both carriers on flights between Malaysia and Japan.

MAB and JAL have filed an application with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and MAVCOM.

Subject to the relevant approvals, both airlines intend to start the joint business in 2020.

JAL and MAB plan to focus on providing customers with convenient travel options with a comprehensive network throughout Malaysia and Japan.

In 2012, MAB joined the oneworld alliance and since then both airlines have offered codeshare flights between Japan and Malaysia.

The airlines want to explore collaboration in other operational areas, including cargo and development of tourism in Malaysia and Japan.

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Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said: “Japan Airlines has always had strong commercial links with the national carrier and we are delighted to have taken this next important step with our close oneworld partner.

“This partnership will provide better efficiencies and a more comprehensive network for our customers whilst also playing a key role in further strengthening trade ties between Malaysia and Japan, increasing tourism and promoting Kuala Lumpur International Airport as an air hub.

“The airlines want to explore collaboration in other operational areas, including cargo and development of tourism in Malaysia and Japan.”

“The start of this joint business between Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines is an important milestone of our long-term business plan, which looks to explore more strategic opportunities as well as deepen more partnerships.”

Japan Airlines president Yuji Akasaka said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Malaysia Airlines as we look to bring more benefits, more choices, and more value to our customers.

“It is an honour to deepen the relationship with a partner that places hospitality at its core, where we look to provide a comfortable travel experience for our mutual customers. This partnership can potentially increase passenger traffic between the two countries and open up commercial opportunities.”

Malaysia Airlines currently operates 12 services a week, while Japan Airlines operates seven services weekly. A total of 19 weekly flights operate between Kuala Lumpur and  Tokyo.

Malaysia Airlines also operates two weekly services from Kota Kinabalu to Tokyo and a daily service from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka.