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Malaysia Airlines History

Malaysia Airlines, also known as MAS, is the flag carrier of Malaysia and one of the country's largest airlines. With its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, the airline has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1947.

The origins of Malaysia Airlines can be traced back to Malayan Airways Limited, which was founded in Singapore in 1947. The airline initially operated domestic and regional flights, connecting various destinations in Malaya, Singapore, and Borneo.

Over the years, Malayan Airways Limited expanded its route network and services. In 1963, following the formation of Malaysia, the airline was renamed Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) as a joint venture between the governments of Malaysia and Singapore. MSA became one of the first international airlines in Southeast Asia, operating flights to destinations in Asia, Europe, and Australia.

More Airline Insights & Tips

Here are a few of helpful resources & tips that can further enhance your knowledge of Malaysia airlines and how to best be prepared for your trip:

  • Delays are an unfortunate fact of the life of an air traveler. Arm yourself against surprises by knowing the flight status of your MH Malaysia flight before heading to the airport, as this could save you a lot of time, or even your trip to the airport if your flight is canceled.
  • Info can be found here on Malaysia Airlines’s company structure, headquarters, etc.
  • See which partnerships and alliances Malaysia has here. This is useful if you want to build up your frequent flyer points on partner airlines.
  • Want to know which plane types are in service? Check out MH’s fleet list here.
  • When considering a flight booking on Malaysia Airlines, be aware that third-party travel sites might require you to use their customer service instead of Malaysia 's, which may be less than ideal in certain situations.

Beyond the history presented here for Malaysia , if you’re wanting more aviation history, read about the history of commercial flight here, or the history of the airline industry here.

However, the partnership between Malaysia and Singapore in MSA was short-lived. In 1972, the two countries decided to separate their respective national airlines. As a result, Malaysia Airlines was formed on October 1, 1972, as the national carrier of Malaysia.

Under the new name, Malaysia Airlines continued to expand its operations and modernize its fleet. The airline introduced its first wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 747, in 1976, enabling it to operate long-haul flights to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Malaysia Airlines focused on enhancing its service quality and expanding its global reach. The airline joined the global airline alliance, Oneworld, in 2013, further strengthening its international partnerships and connectivity.

However, Malaysia Airlines faced a major setback in 2014 when Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 aircraft, disappeared while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The incident remains one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

Despite the challenges, Malaysia Airlines has continued to operate and serve as the national carrier of Malaysia. The airline has undergone restructuring and implemented various measures to improve safety, efficiency, and customer experience.

For more information about this airline, check out our comprehensive Malaysia Airlines Guide.

Find more help here for your journey through the airport