New routes to help MAB turn around next year


SEPANG: The expansion of new routes to China, India and North Asia, which is expected to happen in the second half of financial year ending Dec 31, 2018, would be the key to the turnaround story of Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), says chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Bellew.

Bellew said MAB was making good progress in its restructuring and the airline just needed another few percentage points upside on the yield to be into profit.

“Our recovery plan is half-way through. In fact, we can say we are little bit ahead (of schedule). And it’s all about revenue and cost control.

“Taking the right routes, improving the sales and marketing and by increasing the load factors, we should increase the revenue.

“Next year, we are expected to be able to break even across some of the quarters, start making profit and to show consistent profit in the following year,” Bellew told reporters on the sidelines of Malaysia Aviation Group’s Hari Raya celebration here today.

The group comprises its ground-handling unit, AeroDarat Services Sdn Bhd and MAB’s units -– MASWings Sdn Bhd, Firefly Sdn Bhd and MASkargo Sdn Bhd.

Bellew said expansion of selected new routes throughout this year till 2019 would be a significant step forward for the airline, capitalising on a booming population, an increasing middle class and the incredible growing economies of China, India, as well as in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“We are quite optimistic our fleets would increase a little bit next year and we should improve products on board as well and, overall, it would result in beneficial impact to the airline,” he said.

MAB was reportedly half-way through its US$1.39 billion (RM6 billion) restructuring exercise which is likely to be completed in five years.

The exercise was put into place in 2015 during the time of his predecessor, Christoph Mueller.

Bellew took over as MAB CEO on July 1, 2016, after Mueller left after citing personal reasons.

The second phase of the MAB’s restructuring, according to Bellew, involved adding new routes, including 11 routes to China. It launched new routes to Nanjing and Fuzhou last month.

The coming routes include Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Shanghai from Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, while the expansion of other new routes are also being considered.