With the company still struggling after the loss of two of its planes in 2014 and the death of a combined 537 passengers and crew members, Malaysia Airlines is now considering bringing in a premium economy option to its offer.
This would attract long-haul business travellers, and could help the airline become profitable for the first time in years, said chief executive Christoph Mueller.
However, as Mueller said in an interview this Friday at an industry event in Bali, Indonesia, the final decision will be made in “a couple of months.”
We are very happy with business class demand and this gives us the opportunity to increase the revenue per passenger in the economy class. The target passenger is in economy class and you don’t want to cannibalize the business class.
We have to prove every quarter that we are on track and only against the delivery of certain targets is the funding provided.
What Would Premium Economy Seats Bring to MAS?
New premium economy seats would enable the Malaysian carrier to enter the fray against rivaling companies Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines for the hearts and wallets of business and corporate passengers.
With wider seats and more leg room than in economy class, business passengers will have more of an incentive to fly Malaysia Airlines.
Currently, MAS planes have a two-class configuration – economy and business, with the only exception being Airbus Jumbo A380, which also includes first class. There were also talks about A380 getting premium economy back in 2012, but the company instead opted for more economy class seats.
Speaking of Malaysia Airlines’ A380s, their fate now hangs in the balance as the airline failed to sell two of them recently and, according to rumours, would try to sell the remaining four in the next few years.
Of course, the company could simply retire the four-engine jets, but Mueller said it’s too early to talk about that.