The fourth quarter of 2016 can be marked as a huge success for Malaysia Airlines, as the national carrier reported strong numbers in both passenger load factor and traffic. This isn’t all, as Chief Executive Officer Peter Bellew also said on Wednesday that the carrier has identified another RM400 millions of cost reductions for 2017 and will continue to keep an eye on cost control.
In a statement about MAB Q4 2016 results, Bellew said passenger load factors improved in the fourth quarter, 2016 from 70% in Q4 2015 to 81% in the same period this year.
The last quarter saw a good performance in a challenging environment. Our staff has worked hard to improve customer service which is reflected in increased bookings. Our focus is to be a five star premium Asian airline, offering the best of 'Malaysian Hospitality' to 15 million customers a year, travelling to 54 destinations in 21 countries.
The MAB CEO also said the airline and MAB Group finished 2016 ahead of budget and the Group’s turnaround program is delivering good results.
Overall, the airline and the Group recorded a smaller loss than initially projected under the business plan for the fiscal year 2016. Looking forward, the group remains cautious in the outlook for 2017, where the weaker Ringgit to the USD, overcapacity, and intense competition are expected to be the dominant themes for the year. The group continues to maintain strong year on year load performance and believes it will improve on targets for 2017, barring unexpected adverse declines in 2017 airfares due to overcapacity and intense competition.
In the midst of all this, the airline is also regaining customer satisfaction. Proving that, MAB was ranked five-star by Skytrax recently.
Speaking about that, Bellew said:
We have returned to the Skytrax quality scheme in 2017 and our target is to restore our previous high ratings by the end of 2018. Customer satisfaction was up 7 percentage points compared to the corresponding quarter a year ago, and reached an all-time record in October 2016.
However, in all of this sea of positivity, there is one problem. While MAB had an almost stellar 2016, 2017 may not be that good and the carrier must remain cautious in view of the domestic market overcapacity and weak national currency.