New Malaysia Airlines CEO promises “biggest turnaround”

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Malaysia Airlines_BellewThe new CEO of Malaysia Airlines Peter Bellew said in his first interview after he took over the helm of Malaysia’s national airline that he plans the “biggest turnaround in history” of the carrier.

Bellew, who joined Malaysia Airlines last year as its chief operations officer, succeeded former Aer Lingus head Christoph Mueller, who finished up at the carrier by the end of June after less than one year. Being from Ireland, Bellew started his aviation career in 2006 at Ireland’s discount carrier Ryanair with his latest post having been Director for Flight Operations.

For the airline, it is now important to continue where Mueller started initiatives to turn the airlines around, although Bellew states that it was “probably the toughest job in aviation at the moment.” Mueller was to oversee a $1.56-billion turnaround plan which included massive job cuts and dropping unprofitable destinations. He cut 6,000 staff, reduced salaries and trimmed network capacity by 30 per cent, and eventually got into conflict with the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia.

No wonder that Bellew was quick to praise the “great talent” of Malaysia Airlines staff.

“The depth of experience among people here is better than what you would see in most carriers in Europe. I think the airline just required a bit more leadership in the short term,” he told the Irish Independent.

The airline made a loss in 2015, but last February, it recorded a profit, the first in many years. Bellew said the target was for the airline to make a profit in 2018, and hopefully float on the stock market again in 2019. He said there would be a “significant reduction” this year on the loss compared to 2015.

Malaysia Airlines axed all but one of its Europe-bound long-haul flights, only retaining London. It entered a codeshare agreement with Emirates to serve other destinations. But the airline continues to directly serve a number of countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, China, Saudi Arabia, Japan and India and wants to strengthen the focus on the East Asian region.

Bellew also noted that it was s time for the airline to put the two disasters of flights MH370 and MH17 of 2014 behind it.

“I don’t think you can ever forget,” he said, adding that “but I don’t think we can dwell on it forever and we need to go forward from there.”

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The new CEO of Malaysia Airlines Peter Bellew said in his first interview after he took over the helm of Malaysia's national airline that he plans the “biggest turnaround in history” of the carrier. Bellew, who joined Malaysia Airlines last year as its chief operations officer, succeeded former Aer Lingus head Christoph Mueller, who finished up at the carrier by the end of June after less than one year. Being from Ireland, Bellew started his aviation career in 2006 at Ireland's discount carrier Ryanair with his latest post having been Director for Flight Operations. For the airline, it is now...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia Airlines_BellewThe new CEO of Malaysia Airlines Peter Bellew said in his first interview after he took over the helm of Malaysia’s national airline that he plans the “biggest turnaround in history” of the carrier.

Bellew, who joined Malaysia Airlines last year as its chief operations officer, succeeded former Aer Lingus head Christoph Mueller, who finished up at the carrier by the end of June after less than one year. Being from Ireland, Bellew started his aviation career in 2006 at Ireland’s discount carrier Ryanair with his latest post having been Director for Flight Operations.

For the airline, it is now important to continue where Mueller started initiatives to turn the airlines around, although Bellew states that it was “probably the toughest job in aviation at the moment.” Mueller was to oversee a $1.56-billion turnaround plan which included massive job cuts and dropping unprofitable destinations. He cut 6,000 staff, reduced salaries and trimmed network capacity by 30 per cent, and eventually got into conflict with the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia.

No wonder that Bellew was quick to praise the “great talent” of Malaysia Airlines staff.

“The depth of experience among people here is better than what you would see in most carriers in Europe. I think the airline just required a bit more leadership in the short term,” he told the Irish Independent.

The airline made a loss in 2015, but last February, it recorded a profit, the first in many years. Bellew said the target was for the airline to make a profit in 2018, and hopefully float on the stock market again in 2019. He said there would be a “significant reduction” this year on the loss compared to 2015.

Malaysia Airlines axed all but one of its Europe-bound long-haul flights, only retaining London. It entered a codeshare agreement with Emirates to serve other destinations. But the airline continues to directly serve a number of countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, China, Saudi Arabia, Japan and India and wants to strengthen the focus on the East Asian region.

Bellew also noted that it was s time for the airline to put the two disasters of flights MH370 and MH17 of 2014 behind it.

“I don’t think you can ever forget,” he said, adding that “but I don’t think we can dwell on it forever and we need to go forward from there.”

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