MAS can soar again, but it needs a great deal of guts to make it happen — ex-MP

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing airplane takes to the skies. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, March 16: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) can be turned around, but it would take a lot of guts to do the necessary, including removing “weeds” in the company, former Stampin MP Julian Tan opined.

“What is needed is courage and determination to do the necessary, including revising contracts, weeding out unwanted wastages and streamlining existing operations to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness,” he said in a statement today.

Tan believed there were many lucrative, profit-generating areas for MAS, aside from passenger traffic.

“Its engineering division was once a world-renowned player in the MRO (maintain repair and overhaul) market, serving more than 100 airline customers at the peak of its operations with several certifications, including from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) of Australia as well as aviation governing bodies of 25 other countries.”

He added that MAS took the blame and suffered the humiliating downfall due to the previous administration. It was enmeshed in politics, run by a poor management team, and became a milking ground for cronies.

Chartered business jet companies are thriving globally, he shared, while pointing out NetJets as an example. It has a fleet of more than 700 business jets.

“In our part of the world, neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Singapore and India have similar thriving companies that have created young millionaires and even billionaires in the process. Such companies meet the demands of those who need the flexibility of flying at the fraction of the cost of owning a plane.”

Putting aside the demand for chartered business jets among the richest, Tan observed that there was an even higher demand for business travellers, who needed the conveniences and flexibility they could get from first and business class packages.

“This is especially so when Asia is already now an economic powerhouse in its own right.

“On a similar note, the same goes for premium and standard economy packages. MAS plays an irreplaceable role, offering a comprehensive range of services and flexibility that no other local carrier is able to match.”

While it is true that AirAsia has consistently offered excellent service, he emphasised that it was important to note that AirAsia served a market segment that was different from MAS, with only limited overlap.

“Hence, it is crucial to have a national carrier that, together with other local carriers, ensures the demands of air travel and freight needs are comprehensively covered.”

MAS cabin crew and aircrew were well known among its peers and this, Tan highlighted, was further evidence when it was recently awarded the Best Airline in Asia Award at the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) World’s Largest Tourism Fair in Berlin.

The PATWA International Travel Awards are some of the most prestigious awards in the travel industry since its inception 18 years ago.

“It takes someone with guts to weed out the weed in MAS and terminate contracts that are detrimental to the survival of MAS.

“The global stage is set with IATA (The International Air Transport Association) forecasting passenger demand to double over the next 20 years and air freight demands continue to grow. No more political entanglement, MAS has more than what it needs to survive and thrive,” he concluded. — DayakDaily