Malaysia Airlines’ 40th Anniversary

Memories of Malaysia Airlines (Malaysian Airlines System in our time)

In my daily trips into the cyberworld I came across this news article about Malaysia Airlines (Malaysian Airlines System in our time). It may not mean much to most but for those of us who were in Malaysia I’m sure this will stir up some deeply buried memories. It certainly stirred up mine when I saw Capt. Hassan there. It’s been such a long time since I last saw him, 30 years at least, and before this I wasn’t even sure if he was still around in this world.

When I saw that there was a video and the title of the article said New and Old Members of MAS Family reunite…, I thought I would see some other familiar faces in that video. Although I didn’t see anybody else that I knew like Capt. Khairi, I thought that some of you who were there might be interested in this.

I felt close to these two pilots because they were the ones who hired me when they interviewed the PATI crew who put in their application for Malaysian Airlines in Manila in November 1978. Capt. Hassan was then the Director of Flight Operations and Capt. Khairi was Director of Flight Training. They asked me just two questions, one was if I was willing to relocate to Kota Kinabalu and the second was if I could get my ATP license (which I didn’t have then) in 30 days to which I both answered yes. That was it. I was hired. When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur we were treated by both of them with so much hospitality that I felt like I was a VIP. When we had that problem in Kota Kinabalu about our benefits and we were on a stalemate in our negotiations for several months, they supported us.

Capt. Khairi was also the last MAS crew that I had contact with. When I left Malaysia in October 1983, he was the captain of that Boeing 747 flight from Kuala Lumpur to London from where I continued on to New York. The 747’s were pretty much still new then, maybe in serviceĀ  for just over a year. That flight was unforgettable because when he saw me board the plane he immediately told one of the cabin crew to call me to the cockpit. A few hours after take-off I wanted to go back to my free first class seat with all the goodies in there but he insisted I stay in the cockpit. I had to oblige, sat in the cockpit throughout the very long flight (with stopovers in Dubai and Frankfurt), cooped up in that jump seat. Although I enjoyed the company of the flight crew, I couldn’t help but ponder and really felt sorry for the loss of my first class seat which at that time was probably worth at least a few thousand dollars (I really didn’t know how much it cost and never bothered to find out because we never paid for it) and all the comfort and other perks that were available for the taking. Also when I got off at London Heathrow I could hardly walk from my back pain. But I know it was one of my best experiences there.

Well, what did I say about memories being stirred up. I guess I got carried away. Anyway check out the video below:


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