Malaysia Airlines planes at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on June 17, 2014. / Manan Vatsyayana, AFP/Getty Images
Business is picking up at Malaysia Airlines, nearly four months after the mysterious and high-profile disappearance of Flight MH370.
Despite the uptick in business, however, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says the carrier needs a major overhaul of its business model if it is to survive. He says Malaysia Air kept a low profile following the March disappearance one of its Boeing 777s with 239 people onboard. Yet the airline resumed marketing efforts this month, some that's led to a "significant recovery" in business.
"We know that there are many options to consider," Ahmad Jauhari is quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying Wednesday during the company's annual meeting. "But we also know that we simply cannot go on with incremental improvements.‚?¶Our only option at this point of our business evolution is sweeping change."
Chairman Mohamad Nor Yusof says Malaysia Air is still "grappling with confidence and reputation" after the Flight MH370 tragedy, but he said the carrier has ruled out bankruptcy as an option, The Associated Press reports.
In recent years, the Journal notes Malaysia Air has turned to a strategy of aggressive discounting as it battles low-cost rivals such as AirAsia as well as full-service competitors such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines. The low fares have boosted the company's load factor ‚?? or measure of the number of seats filled - hitting a record load factor of 93.5% in December. But fuller planes have not brought profitability for the company.
Brendan Sobie, an analyst with aviation consulting firm CAPA-Centre for Aviation tells the Journal Malaysia Air is "in a difficult position with no easy solutions, at least for the short term, until they and the government decide on the long-term strategy. Unfortunately for their competitors, their decision to continue with the same pricing strategy will make it very difficult to raise fares and boost sagging yields."
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