Outgoing MAB CEO Says the Worst is Over for the Airline

13th May 2016

While speaking to a local radio station BFM 89.9, Malaysia Airlines Berhad Chief Executive Officer Christoph Mueller said the airline has “stopped bleeding and managed to record a profit of RM14.4 million in the previous quarter.

Mueller, who recently announced he will leave MAB as its CEO said the losses mostly amounted on the cost side, but rarely if ever on the revenue side. Because of this, he said, MAB needs to pay more attention to details.

MAB CEO said:

MAS has always been famous, and still is, for our excellent customer service. That has never been the problem. The problem was that cost control was totally out of sync. Not only were there too many suppliers, we also did not negotiate professionally. Cost consciousness and paying more attention to detail are the two biggest things we need to do to move forward.

He also “took offense” at the fact that many label Malaysia Airlines as a “regional airline”, saying the goal was always for it to be the international carrier of Malaysia, saying:

I strongly oppose to that. We carry 10 million passengers a year internationally. We are an international airline. We want to connect Malaysia with the world.

Speaking about MAB finally posting a positive quarterly profit, following years of losses, Mr Mueller said:

I am delighted to share we have stopped the bleeding. We have seen continued improvements in this first year of the biggest and fastest transformation in our history. We have reshaped our business for a strong, sustainable future by moving quickly and making tough decisions early.

Commenting on MAB’s biggest competitor AirAsia, Mueller acknowledged the airline, but said they are not competing on a level field.

He explained:

I accept that AirAsia is our main competitor; however, we offer better deals and better service. If we compare cost, we have to argue from a level playing field. We do not have a level playing field because our main competitor AirAsia does not pay airport charges. They owe the Malaysian airport authority a huge amount of money. So, until they pass this on to passengers, they I would simply say it is not a level playing field, this is not fair competition.

Mueller joined the struggling airline in 2015 and immediately set to make a U-turn and make the carrier profitable again. However, he resigned after a little over a year at the head of the company for “personal reasons”. He’ll remain as the acting CEO until September.

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