Malaysian flagship has green light for relaunch

31 Aug 2015 by Clement Huang

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has been granted its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the country's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) ahead of the flagship carrier's official relaunch as Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) tomorrow.

Having initiated a massive recovery plan in June, which saw MAS lay off a third of its 20,000-strong workforce, MAB will represent a “hard reset” for the company, as described by the airline’s chief executive, Christoph Mueller.

“I would like to stress that we are not just MAS in a disguise. [MAB is] truly a start-up with a new vision,” he said earlier this year.

The granting of a new AOC highlights this, and the DCA confirmed that in doing so, MAB had to undergo months of audit activities during which stringent tests were carried out to assess the airworthiness of the airline, as well as aircraft maintenance and regulatory conformity.

According to Mueller: “The AOC is a testament to all our staff at Malaysia Airlines who have been working hard to fulfil all the necessary requirements and specifications by DCA. We are very excited and focused on MAB's take-off in September.”

The launch of MAB will see a number of changes to the airline’s operations. In particular, two A380s have been declared “surplus to requirements” and made available for purchase.

The loss of the superjumbos has resulted in the downgrade of the carrier’s Kuala Lumpur–Paris route, which is now operated by a B777-200ER. Further cuts across MAB’s network were implemented earlier this month. For a complete list, see here.

Business class on the old MAS A380

Passengers can expect an improvement in the cabin products available on other aircraft models. Business class on the A330s and B777s, for instance, will be refurbished to feature flat bed seats – something currently only available on the A380s.

MAB is also considering implementing a “modular product model” to offer customers better value and drive up sales. Taking a leaf out of the low-cost carrier model, Mueller stated back in June that he foresees the airline being one that offers basic products with optional premium perks for those willing to fork out the extra cash.

“Customers might book a business-class seat, but opt out of the miles or lounge access. Or they could take a day flight in economy to Australia and return in business overnight,” he said.

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Clement Huang

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