Malaysia Airlines sees a much brighter year in 2019 with ongoing plans to grow its flight network amidst a “very tough” current year.
Group Chief Executive Officer Capt Izham Ismail said the first quarter of this year had been a very competitive market but the airline managed to achieve its target while the rest of the year would see huge challenges with the rising fuel prices and rising Malaysian ringgit.
“The strengthening of the ringgit benefits us locally but a lot of people fail to realise that it does not benefit us globally. You know when we sell tickets in Australia in Aussie dollars for instance, if the ringgit strengthens it doesn’t benefit us,” he told Bernama.
Capt Izham, the first pilot to helm the airline, said the strategy for this year is to drive a stronger Yield versus Load factor or Revenue per Available Seat Kilometre (RASK).
The airline achieved a 3.5 per cent higher RASK year-on-year for Q1 while On-Time performance gained 4 per cent to 76 per cent with Customer Satisfaction Index also rising by 4 per cent.
“Our aspiration is not only to turn around this airline but to make it grow. I am very cognisant that we cannot grow robustly like peers such as Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Etihad. My aspiration is to take this airline on a gradual sustainable growth, targeting 3-4 per cent next two to three years,” he said.
If the airline hits the solid ground in 2020 onwards, it could grow 4-6 per cent by introducing new profitable destinations and increasing frequencies.
“We launched Surabaya this year. This month we are launching Brisbane. We are flying twice to Sydney and Melbourne and we have increased frequencies to China, so that’s the network growth we are talking about”.
Capt Izham stressed that Malaysia Airlines is not a luxury or a low-cost airline but rather a premium one that embraces Malaysian hospitality as its niche portraying Malaysians as humble and caring.
“We the team in Malaysia Airlines feel very strongly that the product differentiating us with the rest of the world’s premium airlines is Malaysian hospitality that begins with us,” he added.
The CEO also pointed out that the fact that a lot of people were critical of the airline only showed that Malaysia Airlines represents Malaysia itself and he certainly welcomes criticism in order for him and his team to make the necessary adjustments and correction.
And he said: “I am an ex-pilot to make the necessary correction to the flight plan. It’s not clear sky in 2018 but I see the clearer sky in 2019. Like flying an aeroplane if you are in turbulence, most people will cling to their seats and be so scared. Turbulence is all depending on the pilot, how they manage the flight”.
Source : Frontdesk.com