Malaysia-Singapore Airlines

Malaysia-Singapore Airlines
Malaysia-Singapore Airlines
Founded 1966
Ceased operations 30th September 1972
Hubs Singapore International Airport
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
Fleet size 13+
Headquarters Raffles Place, Singapore
Key people Tun Ismail Ali (last Chairman of MSA)

Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) came into being in 1966 as a result of a joint ownership of the airline by the governments of Malaysia and Singapore.[1] The airline ceased operations after 6 years in 1972 when both governments decided to set up their own national airlines. Hence from that year onwards, Malaysian Airline System, now called Malaysia Airlines, and Singapore Airlines were formed.



The airline traced its roots to the formation of Malayan Airways Limited in 1946. Starting its first flight on 1 May 1947, the Singapore-based carrier flew on domestic routes between Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang and Singapore on an Airspeed Consul twin engined airplane. In April 1948, the airline flew direct international routes from Singapore to Saigon in Vietnam, Batavia (now Jakarta), Medan and Palembang in Indonesia, and to Bangkok in Thailand via Penang. It also flew a route connecting Penang with Medan.

The airline grew rapidly in the next few years, boosted by rising demand for air travel during the post-war period, where flying was no longer a privilege for the very rich. By 12 April 1960, the airline was operating Douglas DC-3s, Super Constellations and Viscounts on new routes from Singapore to Hong Kong, and from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok via Penang. Flights were also introduced from Singapore to cities in the Borneo Territories including Brunei, Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu), Kuching, Sandakan and Sibu.

In the 1960s Malaysian Airways was headquartered in Raffles Place, Singapore.[2] In 1965, Borneo Airways was amalgamated with Malaysian Airways,and led the formation of Malaysia-Singapore Airlines.

The last of 30 737-100s built was delivered to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines in October 1969.[3]

Name Changes

The airline saw its name changed twice due to political shifts. In 1963, the creation of the Federation of Malaysia prompted a change of name to "Malaysian Airways". Singapore's expulsion from the federation in 1965 led to another name change in 1966 to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) when the two separate governments took joint ownership of the airline.

MSA Building

MSA had its downtown offices at Robinson Road in Singapore's business district. The building later became SIA building.


The different needs of the two shareholders, however, led to the breakup of the airline just six years later. The Singapore government preferred to develop the airline's international routes, while the Malaysian government preferred to develop the domestic network first before going regional and eventually, long-haul. MSA ceased operations in 1972, with its assets split between two new airlines; Malaysia Airlines Berhad (now Malaysia Airlines),[4] and Singapore Airlines.

With Singapore Airlines determined to develop its international routes, it took the entire fleet of seven Boeing 707s and five Boeing 737s which would allow it to continue servicing the regional and long-haul international routes. Since most of MSA's international routes were flown out of Singapore, the vast majority of international routes were in the hands of Singapore Airlines. In addition, MSA's headquarters, which was located in Singapore, became the headquarters of Singapore Airlines.

Malaysian Airline System, on the other hand, took all domestic routes within Malaysia and international routes out of the country, as well as the remaining fleet of Fokker F27s and Britten-Norman Islanders . It began flights on 1 October 1972.

The initials MSA were well regarded as an airline icon and both carriers tried to emulate them. Malaysian went for MAS by just transposing the last two letters and choosing the name Malaysian Airline System, whereas Singapore originally proposed the name Mercury Singapore Airlines to keep the MSA initials, but changed its mind and went for SIA instead.[5] Acronyms for airline names later reduced in fashion and both carriers then moved on to their descriptive names.


A Airspeed Consul, the first aircraft type operated by Malayan Airways

Over the years, MSA operated many aircraft including:[4][6]

Past destinations

Malayan Airways

Accidents and incidents

External links


See also

  • History of Malaysia Airlines

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