Peter Bellew, the new CEO of Malaysia Airlines, started work today and immediately declared “we will fix” the troubled carrier in a journey to redemption that “will be a road with many interesting turns”.
Malaysia Airlines has been in turmoil since 2014 when MH370 disappeared without trace and MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine four months later – twin disasters in which hundreds of its passengers died, sending the carrier into a commercial tail spin.
Mr Bellew assumes leadership from Christoph Mueller, who resigned in early April due to “personal circumstances” just 12 months into a three-year contract.
“Malaysia Airlines has seen great progress in the last 10 months with many turnaround initiatives working,” said Mr Bellew.
“Our first quarter showed performance indicators on track with yield up 23.4%, costs down by 32.9% and our bottom line ahead of budget.”
He listed the following priorities:
- We will stop doing things that lose money.
- We will rebuild our relationships with the travel trade globally.
- We will lead a worldwide marketing initiative promoting Malaysia.
- We will start new routes from Malaysian airports to new ASEAN destinations.
“A new website, mobile app, trade reservations system and airport equipment will all be in place over the next twelve months.
“The digital experience when booking with Malaysian Airlines will see significant investment in 2016/17.”
Cutting costs is a major focus for the new CEO.
“Saving money, does not mean compromising on safety or on our products and services,” he said.
“It simply means we need to increase productivity and efficiency, invest in modern technology, enter into mutually beneficial partnerships besides identifying and mitigating risks early.
“Airport costs will be an immediate focus and we are planning to operate some leisure flights from Kuala Lumpur KLIA2 in 2017 where costs are RM 33 (USD$8.25) per passenger lower or RM 5412 (USD$1350) per flight lower.
“On one daily flight this simple saving will be RM 1,975,380 or USD $500,000 per annum.
“We will pass on these savings to customers with lower fares.”
He added: “A lot has been done, the profit seen in the last quarter shows that the financial gap between revenue and cost has significantly closed, which tells us that we are on the right trajectory.
“We need to move quicker and more aggressively to keep the momentum for a strong, sustainable future.
“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!”