Tuesday, 11 July 2017

(The Star) MAS back on track and set to be in the black by 2018, says PM

SEPANG: The once-ailing Malaysia Airlines is set to be back in the black by next year as its five-year revival plan remains well on track.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the revival plan, which was announced by Khazanah Nasional Berhad in August 2014, is bearing fruit.

“The first phase of the plan was to stabilise the company’s finances, and I can confirm that this has been achieved.

“I was informed by Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Peter Bellew that the airline is expected to be in the black hopefully by next year,” he said at the unveiling ceremony of the airline’s Negaraku livery on a B737-800 in conjunction with Malaysia Aviation Group’s Hari Raya gathering at Malaysia Airlines Engineering Complex yesterday.

He added that the second phase of the plan would focus on improving the overall quality of aircraft and in-flight services, as well as opening new routes that would include 11 new ones to China.

He described the airline as Malaysia’s “pride and joy” but said it required commitment and dedication from all parties to ensure that it regained its five-star Skytrax status.

“As far as many other Malaysians and I am concerned, we don’t look at MAS (Malaysia Airlines) as an ordinary airline.

“To us, MAS is about the nation. It is our icon, our pride and joy,” Najib said.

Najib acknowledged that the poor handling of the national air carrier caused it to suffer a troubled past.

“We had gone through a very difficult period and MAS history was fraught with, I would say, horrendous decisions in the past.

“I am not going down that route but it was a nightmare that was inflicted on MAS which was done by one of my predecessors,” he said without elaborating.

Earlier in his speech, Bellew said that Malaysia Airlines was proud to display the Negaraku livery across the world. He said negaraku was a simple Malay phrase that means “my nation” but “it means so much more than that”.

“It speaks volumes of the pride and love that Malaysians have for each other and the nation,” he added.

The B737-800 aircraft is the first of several to display the national flag on international flights below seven hours to destinations such as to Shanghai and Perth.

Bellew said that apart from the B737-800, the Malaysia Aviation Group would also display the Negaraku livery on other aircraft in its fleets, including those in MASwings and Firefly.