Malaysia Airlines (MAB) posted a profit in February 2016, marking its first positive return in years.
Speaking to The Associated Press, MAB chief executive Christoph Mueller revealed that revenue has improved while costs are down. It also means that the carrier is on track to meet its goal of breaking even by 2018.
“For a company that lost RM2 billion ($511 million) just last year, if you are able to break even for a month or so, it means the financial gap between revenue and cost has significantly closed, and that is good news that tells us that we are on the right trajectory,” he said.
Under Mueller, MAB underwent a US$1.5 billion overhaul, which saw it cut over 6,000 jobs and axe unprofitable routes.
The Oneworld airline also recently entered into a joint partnership with Emirates, allowing it to piggyback off the Gulf carrier long-haul routes, while it focus its efforts in Asia.
“The ambition of Malaysia Airlines is to grow again when we can afford growth,” said Mueller. “If you grow as a loss making airline, you just increase the losses.”
Long-term challenges do remain. In particular, cutting through the corporate culture that was fostered under the previous regime has been difficult, where red tape was thick and employees had many “entitlements”.
Furthermore, Mueller commented that the airline was a “ship that had many leaks”, with plenty of areas that required repairing.
“We have 220 projects. I cannot pick one and say this is the one that will save the airline. We have to repair in a lot of cases,” he said. “My biggest problem is that the day has only 24 hours and the week has only seven days.”
For more information, visit malaysiaairlines.com