PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines faces the risk of having codesharing agreements with other countries disrupted, industry experts said.
Codesharing pacts between Malaysian and US carriers are now not allowed, after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to Category 2 on Monday.
Codesharing agreements allow for two or more airlines to market the same flight to passengers.
Under the agreement, other airlines can place its designator code on a flight operated by another airline and sell tickets for it.
Maybank Investment Bank aviation analyst Mohsin Aziz explained that codesharing pacts allow for more seamless check-in and baggage transfer processes when travelling.
“However, now that we are no longer allowed to have codeshares with the US, passengers have to check in their bags once again when they have a layover to connect their flights to say, American Airlines, ” he said.
He added that the FAA rating could potentially lead to knock-on effects on codesharing pacts with other airlines, as other countries may follow suit.
“Whenever an American authority does something, aviation authorities in other regions will usually take heed of it.
“For instance, Thailand was downgraded by the FAA in 2015 and it prompted many other countries and regions to scrutinise Thai airlines, such as Japan.
“Nothing of the sort has happened in Malaysia yet, but we need to monitor the situation, ” he said.
He added that the full impact of stopping codesharing agreements remains to be seen, as data on passengers travelling to and from the US on such arrangements are not readily available.
“There are not many Malaysians who go to the US and vice versa – it is simply too far.
“We cannot quantify the number but based on available information, it seems to suggest that the effect will not be too large, ” he said.
He clarified that restrictions on codesharing pacts will only apply to Malaysian-registered carriers.
Passengers, he added, can still travel to and from the US on airlines that are not based in Malaysia.
Existing routes to the US that do not use codesharing arrangements, such as the AirAsia X flight to Honolulu via Osaka, will still continue.
The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) president, Ismail Nasaruddin, also said the FAA rating may affect the status of codeshare agreements with other regions such as Europe.
“Currently, the codeshare pacts with other countries remain as is.
“However we don’t know what will be the next course of action taken.
“Once the rating has been downgraded, there is a possibility that other authorities such as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency will follow. It is a snowball effect, ” he said.
Travel website FlyerTalk reported that American Airlines will no longer have codesharing agreements with Malaysia Airlines.
American Airlines senior corporate communications manager Andrea Koos was quoted as saying that the airline will be helping those with a codeshare air ticket to rebook their itineraries.
American Airlines and Malaysia Airlines are part of the Oneworld Alliance, which comprise 13 airlines who have a partnership to provide seamless and smooth travel experience.