KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) will maintain its position and reputation as the country’s international and long haul carrier and has no intention to turn into a regional airliner, said chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Bellew.
“We fly to most of the international routes as we are partnered with Emirates since December last year, and that will still give our customers a seamless international network,” he said to Malay Mail during an MAB media briefing yesterday.
He said the carrier is still flying its passengers to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Vietnam, and more.
“Malaysia Airlines has always been an international airline, regardless of any partnership, and will not (become) a regional airline,” Bellew said.
The CEO said the group has done a feasibility study on its routes and at this point of time, it intends to continue as a successful airline.
“We have fixed all the obstacles at the current stage, and we have earned profits, while we are on the verge of buying more aircrafts (in order) to fly to new destinations,” Bellew said.
He said the group has six to seven new destinations, with a distance of four to eight hours flight, and it will announce the new routes soon.
Additionally, MAB is committed to the speedy transformation of the airline to regain back its full glory.
“This transformation is expected to be accomplished within 12 months starting from now,” Bellew said.
He also said the transformation needs a concrete business strategy for long-term growth.
“Most local or international carriers will be taking the same actions in order to maintain their position and to be more competitive,” Bellew said.
What is important right now is to ensure the (transformation) plans are efficiently taken care of and that we will carry out those plans — which are compatible with customer needs and demands — and according to the current market situation, he said.
MAB is going through a transformation process which is aimed at restructuring the company through a 12-point MAS Recovery Plan (MRP) for five years, which was announced on Aug 29, 2014.
Speaking on the Singapore-Malaysia High Speed Rail, Bellew said the airline is looking at partnering with the rail operator for ticket sales.
“We are bidding as a partner to sell tickets for the train operator in a bid to give a seamless experience to passengers.
“This will be a marketing opportunity for us, rather than a negative,” he said
Earlier, Malay Mail reported that Bellew will follow the same path set by his predecessor, Christoph Mueller.
However, analysts said it was too early to say what Bellew will do, or whether he will establish his own style and reorganisation plans to redress the woes that has plagued the national carrier.
“I am excited to get to work, leading this proud airline and ensuring the national carrier regains its rightful place as the pride of the nation. We will fix it. Malaysia Boleh,” Bellew said on his first day as MAB CEO on July 1.
He noted that MAB has seen great progress in the last 10 months with many turnaround initiatives working to
“Our first quarter showed performance indicators on track with yield up to 23.4%, while our cost was down by 32.9%, and our bottom line ahead of budget.”
Moving forward, MAB will remain focused on the turnaround with key emphasis on specific areas — Fly Smart, Funding, Family and Fix It.
“The goal will be to fly customers safely to prefered destinations, with great value fares and superior services, on clean and modern aircrafts. We will stop doing things that will lose money and we will rebuild our relationship with the travel trade globally.”
At that time, Bellew said MAB will start new routes from various Malaysian airports to new unserved Asean destinations.
While he acknowledged the complexity of the business, he said customers simply want great service, and MAB will raise the bar to ensure that their commitment towards meeting customer expectations is disseminated by all staff across the group.
With over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, the Irish national joined MAB from Ryanair Ltd mid last year, leaving his position as director of flight operations responsible for 72 bases.