Image: Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines has big plans for its pilgrim-centric services and has launched a dedicated brand for its Hajj and Umrah flights to Saudi Arabia.

Malaysia Airlines has officially launched a dedicated brand for its flights for passengers embarking on Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier said the service, branded as Amal, will be the world’s first to offer dedicated pilgrim-centric flights for Muslim passengers traveling from countries in Southeast Asia to Saudi Arabia.

“We see big potential for the Hajj and Umrah market and we have the added advantage of having years of experience providing such a service,” said Malaysia Aviation Group CEO, Captain Izham Ismail.

He also said that in addition to targeting customers in Malaysia, Amal will aim to appeal to the “underserved” Indonesian market, which has a Muslim population 10 times larger than in Malaysia. “The aim is to establish an air transport system and infrastructure dedicated for Hajj and Umrah for Muslims not just from these three countries but also other ASEAN countries,” said Ismail.

According to Bernama, a Malaysian news agency, Amal aims to win over 60% of the country’s Hajj and Umrah flight market within the next two years and is also targeting a 10% market share in Indonesia.

Malaysia Airlines’ dedicated pilgrim flights, previously known as Project Hope, have been operating since October 2018, with three flights per week to Jeddah and Medina using Airbus A380-800s. However, Amal CEO Hazman Hilmi Sallahudin said the aim of the new branding and logo is to overturn the perception of pilgrim services as being non-premium operations. According to illustrations presented during the official Amal launch event, the new logo and branding could feature on the nose of airline’s A380s.

“It is a privilege to be part of our pilgrims’ remarkable journey and we envisage Amal to be the best pilgrimage carrier in the world through an enriched onboard experience,” said Hilmi Sallahudin. “The establishment of Amal is also hoped to alleviate the overall quality of services in the pilgrimage market which is often associated to non-premium services. As Saudi Arabia aims to quadruple the number of pilgrims to 30 million by 2030, Amal is honored to play a part in making Saudi Vision 2030 a great success.”

Ari is the news editor at APEX Media.