Malaysia Airlines (MAB) has announced its first quarterly update since a rebrand in September 2015 (see here).
The overall outlook is positive. Much of the work that the airline has done to optimise its route network has started to show anticipated returns. Revenue per available seat kilometre has improved year-on-year, while seat load factor has also been gaining momentum.
In particular, demand from China and North Asia has been strong, signalling a remarkable change in fortune for an airline that lost significant passenger confidence from the Chinese market following the loss of flight MH370 last year. Moving forward, MAB intends to introduce more charter flights (currently numbering 180) to selected key cities in China, to meet the increasing travel demand.
Meanwhile, news emerged last week that the airline would be entering into a joint partnership with Gulf carrier Emirates (see here), which will significantly expand MAB’s global coverage and provide a greater range of travel options for customers.
The partnership is an important part of MAB’s restructuring plan, which seeks to lower costs and improve efficiency. By leveraging Emirates’ global network, the Oneworld member will be able to cancel its unprofitable Paris and Amsterdam flights from January 25, 2016 while still providing access to these destinations for its regular customers. Reciprocally, Emirates will codeshare with MAB on domestic routes in Malaysia.
Concurrently, MAB is seeking to improve connectivity and service quality of its domestic network by opening seven new crew bases in Malaysia. While its primary base will continue to be in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the airline will establish important outposts in Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri, Labuan, Kota Bahru, Penang and Johor Bahru. A total of 18 B737-800s will be relocated to the new bases, along with locally employed pilots and cabin crew staff.
The shifting of workforce will enable MAB to reorganise its operations in KLIA’s main terminal, which, once set in motion early next year, will mean quicker transfers for ASEAN passengers connecting between international and domestic services.
“It is very rewarding to see the new team of employees creating a truly new airline, entirely customer focused and commercially led,” said MAB group chief executive, Christoph Mueller.
“We still have a long way to go but existing and new partners believe in our success, and Malaysia Airlines has been set on a path towards reclaiming its position as one of the world’s leading airlines.”
For more information, visit malaysiaairlines.com