LANGKAWI: In the three years since Malaysia Airlines embarked on its turnaround plan, it hasn’t always been clear skies for the national carrier, but it now believes it has found a winning formula.
The company is revisiting its glorious past and plans to re-establish itself as an airline famous for its excellent service.
No one should be surprised that the Malaysia Airlines brand was badly affected by the MH370 and MH17 tragedies and the subsequent complications caused by changes in its top management. It changed chief executives three times in two years.
The company is now headed by Izham Ismail, one of its former pilots, and it recorded improved yields in the first quarter of this year.
Malaysia Airlines’ group chief marketing officer, Arved Von Zur Muehlen, recently told FMT that the company believed it had found a formula for its future success, but he chose to speak at length on only one of the equations – the resurrection of the best of the past.
“If we look back on the heritage of the Malaysia Airlines brand, we’ll see it associated with outstanding service and good food on board,” he said.
“That’s how we won so many Skytrax awards.”
He said the service was so good that other airlines and even hotels aspired to emulate it.
“Now we are revitalising the brand. This is an area we are focusing on because we feel it comes naturally to our staff.”
Von Zur Muehlen said he believed staff motivation was affected by the loss of colleagues and guests in the two tragedies as well as the subsequent periods of non-profitability.
He said this called for efforts to revive pride in the company and to make members of the staff once again see customer experience as their centre of gravity.
He disclosed that Malaysia Airlines’ current customer satisfaction index stood at 77% and said it was aiming to achieve 80% at all times.
“If we can combine the legacy of service with digitalisation and efficiency through our websites and apps, that will be the winning formula,” he added.