MAS’S HUGE

Air­line up­beat on China mar­ket, set to add eight new routes there by Oct, says CEO

New Straits Times - - Business -

MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING and OOI TEE CHING

KUALA LUMPUR bt@me­di­aprima.com.my

MALAYSIA Air­lines Bhd (MAS) is open­ing up eight new routes to China, adding to the ex­ist­ing 17, says chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter Bellew.

The new routes are to Chengdu, Wuhan, Nan­jing, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Shen­zhen, Haikou and Tian­jin.

“That’s the largest number of new routes that the com­pany has started in the his­tory of Malaysia Air­lines,” he told the New Straits Times and Berita Harian yes­ter­day.

“We’ve never done any­thing like that be­fore. So it’s a huge ex­pan­sion for us. I think China is go­ing to be a mas­sive growth mar­ket for tourism,” he said.

Bellew said the new routes would not just fly out from Kuala Lumpur. Some will be from Kota Kin­a­balu, Kuch­ing and Pe­nang.

The first two new routes had al­ready started, the third would start by end of this month, and the oth­ers were sched­uled be­tween now and Oc­to­ber, he said dur­ing a visit to The New Straits Times Press Bhd (NSTP) at the Balai Berita, here, yes­ter­day.

Bellew and his team also met with Me­dia Prima Bhd group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Datuk Seri Am­rin Awalud­din, NSTP chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Ab­dul Jalil Hamid and Harian Metro group ed­i­tor Datuk Mustapa Omar.

“I’m a huge be­liever in print ad­ver­tis­ing. We’ve run a number of cam­paigns with Me­dia Prima and it was a huge boost to Malaysia Air­lines.

“Old-fash­ioned print ad­ver­tis­ing works ex­tremely well in the coun­try. Peo­ple still read news­pa­pers. We’ll be in­vest­ing mil­lions of ring­git in the next twelve months with Me­dia Prima,” said Bellew.

It has been three years since the na­tional car­rier was delisted from Bursa Malaysia by par­ent Khaz­anah Na­sional and sup­planted by MAS.

Bellew, who is on a three-year con­tract, said his main task is to make the na­tional car­rier prof­itable by next year, ahead of a planned relist­ing in 2019.

In re­in­stat­ing more routes for MAS, Bellew is on a mis­sion to get new air­craft.

“We are look­ing at Air­bus A330 and Boe­ing 787. Ide­ally, if we can get some more wide-body air­craft next year, that would give Malaysia Air­lines a boost, mak­ing it more lux­u­ri­ous and giv­ing it a more pre­mium feel.”

“Malaysia Air­lines was the pride of the na­tion pre­vi­ously and we were ac­corded five stars from Sky­trax World Air­line Rat­ing for eight or nine years be­fore 2013.

We’re go­ing to work very hard for the next 12 months to get that back. That’s the goal I’ve set my­self,” Bellew added.

PIC BY ROSELA IS­MAIL

The New Straits Times Press Bhd (NSTP) chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) Datuk Ab­dul Jalil Hamid (cen­tre) and Malaysia Air­lines Bhd CEO Peter Bellew (left) at NSTP Balai Berita in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day. With them is NSTP re­source cen­tre man­ager Ram­lan Ramli.

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