SEPANG: Malaysia Airlines is about the nation and many of the troubles the national carrier has faced were caused by a previous leader, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).
"The history of Malaysia Airlines is fraught with horrendous decisions, and it was a nightmare inflicted on the airline by one of my predecessors," he said.
He declined to elaborate, but was believed to be referring to former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has since joined the Opposition.
"But I will make sure that Malaysia Airlines recovers," Najib said at the unveiling ceremony of the airline's 'Negaraku' livery on a B737-800, in conjunction with parent company Malaysia Aviation Group's Hari Raya gathering at the Malaysia Airlines Engineering Complex here Monday.
Also present at the event were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Malaysia Aviation Group chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof.
Najib said Malaysia Airlines is set to be back in the black by next year as its five-year revival plan remains on track.
The national carrier was also on the path towards regaining its status as a 5-star global airline thanks to this plan, he added.
"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 by next year," Najib said.
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.
"As far as I am concerned, as well as every Malaysian, Malaysia Airlines is about the nation.
"It is our icon, and our pride and joy," Najib said.
He said Malaysia Airlines' Negaraku livery would help lift the spirit of the nationalism, patriotism and unity to greater heights.
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.