Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) and Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi) have announced in a press release that they signed a "wide-ranging partnership agreement", encompassing revenue sharing on routes between Malaysia and Singapore and code-share cooperation on other routes.

"Subject to regulatory approvals from the relevant competition authorities, the national carriers propose to share revenue on flights between Singapore and Malaysia, expand codeshare routes, and participate in joint marketing activities to develop tourism," the two South-East Asian carriers said.

The agreement formalises a memorandum between the two carriers signed in June 2019. The proposed partnership would include both airlines' subsidiaries, namely SilkAir (MI, Singapore Changi), Scoot (TR, Singapore Changi), and Firefly (FY, Penang).

On routes between Malaysia and Singapore, the two airlines plan to establish a joint business agreement, coordinate schedules, offer joint fares, align corporate programmes, and explore tie-ups between their respective frequent flyer programmes.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, Malaysia Airlines currently operates 63 weekly flights to Singapore Changi - 56 from Kuala Lumpur Int'l and seven from Kuching. The carrier's regional subsidiary Firefly operates 42x weekly between Kuala Lumpur Subang and Singapore Seletar. In turn, Singapore Airlines flies to Malaysia 19x weekly, serving Kuala Lumpur Int'l exclusively. Low-cost unit Scoot flies to Malaysia 69x weekly, serving seven destinations (Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Penang, Ipoh, Langkawi, Kota Bharu, and Kuantan), while SilkAir operates 99 weekly flights to Malaysia - to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Kota Kinabalu.

Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and their respective subsidiaries have a combined market share of 53.6% by capacity between Malaysia and Singapore.

The two airlines have a code-share partnership covering services between Singapore Changi and Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, and Penang. Under the terms of the partnership, Singapore Airlines and Silk Air will code-share on Malaysia Airlines' domestic flights covering a further 12 cities in the country. In turn, Malaysia Airlines will progressively codeshare on flights between Singapore and Malaysia, Europe, South Africa, and other destinations once necessary approvals are granted.

The Singaporean and Malaysian flag carriers were originally founded as a single airline, Malayan Airways Limited, prior to the Asian countries' independence. The carrier was renamed as Malaysian Airways (1963) after the Federation of Malaysia was founded in 1963. Subsequently, after Singapore's declaration of independence in 1966, the airline was renamed again to MSA - Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. This airline ceased operations in 1972 and was replaced by the two separate flag carriers which continue to exist.

Separately, Malaysian business weekly The Edge reported last week that among the four bidders interest in acquiring a stake in Malaysia Airlines are three foreign airlines - Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l), China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou), and JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda). The Qatari flag carrier subsequently denied having submitted a bid.

Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, which currently fully owns the carrier, has confirmed that there are four potential investors but denied to name any of them.

Financially struggling Malaysia Airlines has been reported to only have enough cash to survive through April 2020. The government and Khazanah Nasional have been looking for a potential investors since the beginning of 2019.