Malaysia–Singapore Airlines

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Malaysia–Singapore Airlines
Malaysia-Singapore Airlines logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1946 as Malayan Airways
1963 as Malaysian Airways
Ceased operations30 September 1972; split into Malaysian Airline System and Singapore Airlines
HubsKallang Airport (Kallang Airport)
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
Fleet size13+
HeadquartersRaffles Place, Singapore

Malaysia–Singapore Airlines (abbreviation: MSA) was the flag carrier of Malaysia and Singapore. It came into being in 1966 as a result of a joint ownership of the airline by the governments of the two countries.[1] The airline ceased operations after six years in 1972 when both governments decided to set up their own national airlines, Malaysian Airline System (now named Malaysia Airlines Berhad) and Singapore Airlines.


de Havilland Comet 4 of MSA in 1969

The airline traced its roots to the formation of Malayan Airways in 1946. With 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 aeroplane. In April 1948, the airline flew direct international routes from Singapore to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) 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, Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellations and Vickers 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.

On 1 April 1965, Borneo Airways Limited was officially amalgamated with Malaysian Airways and the merged company was renamed Malaysia–Singapore Airlines the following year to reflect the political changes between Malaysia and Singapore.[2]

The last of 30 Boeing 737-100s built was delivered to Malaysia–Singapore Airlines in October 1969.[3] This resulted in the return of the last MSA de Havilland Comet 4s leased from British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) being returned to that airline.[citation needed]

Name changes[edit]

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 to Malaysia–Singapore Airlines (MSA) when the two separate governments took joint ownership of the airline in 1966.[citation needed]

MSA Building[edit]

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


The different needs of the two shareholders, however, led to the break-up 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 a domestic network first before going regional and eventually, long-haul. MSA ceased operations in 1972, with its assets split between two new airlines; Malaysian Airline System 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 F27 Friendships and Britten-Norman BN-2 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 used the name Mercury Singapore Airlines to keep the MSA initials, but that was blocked following widespread protests in Malaysia.[5] Eventually, the new entity was named SIA instead.[6]

Corporate affairs[edit]

In the 1960s Malaysian Airways was headquartered in Raffles Place, Singapore.[7] By 1971 the headquarters had moved to the MSA Building on Robinson Road in Singapore.[8]



Over the years, the airline operated many aircraft including:[4][9]

Malayan Airways, Malaysian Airways and Malaysia–Singapore Airlines Historical Fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airspeed Consul 1947 1951
Boeing 707-320 1967 1980-1982 Transferred to Singapore Airlines
Boeing 737-100 1969 1980
Boeing 737-200 1971 1980
Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander 1968 1972
Cessna 310F Un­known Un­known One aircraft in Malaysian Airways fleet prior to merger with Borneo Airways[10]
de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 1952 Un­known Operated by Federation Air Service prior to merger with Malayan Airways[11]
de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapide 1949 1958
de Havilland DH.106 Comet 4 1962 1969 Operated by Malaysian Airways prior to merger with Borneo Airways[10][12]
Douglas DC-3 1947 1968 Operated by Malaysian Airways and Borneo Airways prior to merger[10]
Douglas DC-4 1958 1960
Fokker F27 Friendship 1963 1972 Operated by Malaysian Airways prior to merger with Borneo Airways[10]
Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation 1960 1960
Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer 1959 1962 Operated by Borneo Airways prior to merger with Malaysian Airways[10]
Vickers Viscount 1959 1962

Past destinations[edit]

Malayan Airways[edit]

Malaysia–Singapore Airlines[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Borneo Airways and Malaysian Airways each had one aircraft accident while operating.[13][14] Aircraft operated by successor Malaysia–Singapore Airlines were involved in five accidents resulting in hull loss.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Singapore Airlines". Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  2. ^ "Sarawak Cabinet to discuss airways merger". The Straits Times. The Straits Times. 6 February 1965. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  3. ^ "The Boeing 737-100/200". Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Past, Present & Moving Forward". Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  5. ^ Lin, Yangchen (2 July 2017). "A great way to remember: SIA fans collect memorabilia". The Straits Times. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  6. ^ 'Singapore doesn't need the archaic image of Mercury', Straits Times, 10 February 1972
  7. ^ Flight International. 2 April 1964. 519 (Archive). "Head Office: Airways House, Raffles Place, Singapore."
  8. ^ Flight International. 6 May 1971. p. 636 (Archive). "Head office: PO Box 397, MSA Building, Robinson Road, Singapore 1."
  9. ^ "Malaysian Airlines System Berhad". Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Malaysian-Borneo Merger". Flight. 15 April 1965. p. 558.
  11. ^ "Malayan Airways 1960". Time Table Images. 1960.
  12. ^ "Comet 4 Singapore Incident". Flight. 7 May 1964. p. 751.
  13. ^ "Borneo Airways list of accidents and incidents". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Malaysian Airways list of accidents and incidents". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 16 April 2007.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]