Malaysia Airlines doesn’t need additional funding from Khazanah

MAS chief executive Peter Bellew welcomes Liverpool FC to the Malaysia Airlines family. RAYMOND OOI/ The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) does not need additional funding from Khazanah Nasional Bhd and it is confident of performing better in the immediate future on the back of solid bookings from November this year until March next year. 

Chief executive officer Peter Bellew said the airline was currently operating with a load factor of up to 73% and it was targeting higher load factor of 80% over the next 18 months. 

“Bookings for November and December are looking very good. We expect a lot of inbound tourists for January to March next year. 

“There are no plans to ask for more funding as agreed upon with Khazanah. We are meeting all the targets that Khazanah has set,” he told a press conference after unveiling MAB’s three-year deal with the Liverpool Football Club to become its official global airline partner. 

He said China’s market was among MAB’s busiest sectors currently with available seat kilometres expected to double in the next 18 months from the current 6%. 

He said the airline would also make more announcements in the next few weeks with regards to the Chinese route. 

MAB also plans to charter its six A380 aircraft to global airlines from next year onwards, instead of selling the assets as initially planned, whereby the airline would provide the crew, as well as engineering, technical and training support. 

On oil price hedging, Bellew said MAB had been hedging the oil forward up to a year now so it could have certainty on operating cost. 

Meanwhile, he said the partnership with Liverpool FC would dramatically increase MAB’s brand awareness, which would include LED and static board brand exposure at each home game at the Anfield Stadium, Liverpool FC website and co-branding opportunities. 

Asked on MAB wishlist for the upcoming 2017 Budget, Bellew said the Government needed to allocate more money for Tourism Malaysia and introduce more tax incentives for those who built hotels and other accommodations. 

Many parts of Malaysia are saddled with lack of hotels and bed-and-breakfast accommodations, tourist-themed restaurants and tourist attractions, he said. 

On the passenger service charge issue, he said MAB met the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) a few weeks ago over the call for equal passenger service charges at the KL International Airport (KLIA) and klia2. 

Bellew, who is in favour of equal passenger service charges, was optimistic that Mavcom’s decision would be fair and reasonable for the industry. - Bernama

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