Malaysia–Singapore Airlines

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Malaysia–Singapore Airlines
Malaysia-Singapore Airlines logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1946 as Malayan Airways Limited
Ceased operations 1 October 1972 separate by malaysia and singapore
Hubs Singapore International Airport (Paya Lebar Air Base)
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 ally 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 was formed.


De Havilland Comet 4 of MSA in 1969

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 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, 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 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.[2] This resulted in the return of the last MSA De Havilland Comet 4s leased from BOAC being returned to that airline.

Name changes[edit]

Malaysia-Singapore Airlines Boeing 737, Singapore International Airport, photographed February 1969 × July 1971.

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.[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]


An MSA Boeing 707 at Zürich-Kloten Airport (1972).

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 the 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),[3] 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, sand Britten-Norman Islander s. 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.[4] Acronyms for airline names later reduced in fashion and both carriers then moved on to their descriptive names.

Corporate affairs[edit]

In the 1960s Malaysian Airways was headquartered in Raffles Place, Singapore.[5] By 1971 the headquarters had moved to the MSA Building on Robinson Road in Singapore.[6]


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

Over the years, MSA operated many aircraft including:[3][7]

Malaysia-Singapore Airlines Historical Fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airspeed Consul 1947 1951
Britten-Norman Islander 1968 1972
de Havilland DH-89A 1949 1958
Douglas DC-3 1947 1968
Douglas C-47 Skytrain 1947 1968
Douglas DC-4 1958 1960
Fokker F27 Friendship 1963 1972
Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation 1960 1960
Twin Pioneer 1959 1962
Vickers Viscount 1959 1962
de Havilland Comet 4 1962 1969
Boeing 707-320 1967 change to Singapore airlines
Boeing 737-100 1969 change to singapore airlines
Boeing 737-200 1971 change to Singapore Airline

Past destinations[edit]

Malayan Airways[edit]

Malaysia–Singapore Airlines[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Singapore Airlines". Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  2. ^ "The Boeing 737-100/200". Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Past, Present & Moving Forward". Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  4. ^ 'Singapore doesn't need the archaic image of Mercury', Straits Times, 10 February 1972
  5. ^ Flight International. 2 April 1964. 519 (Archive). "Head Office: Airways House, Raffles Place, Singapore."
  6. ^ Flight International. 6 May 1971. p. 636 (Archive). "Head office: PO Box 397, MSA Building, Robinson Road, Singapore 1."
  7. ^ "Malaysian Airlines System Berhad". Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  8. ^ "". Retrieved 16 April 2007. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]