Malaysian Airlines says it has continued to make good progress with its turnaround plan in the July-September period, which included an order for up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (25 firm orders and 25 purchase rights) to replacing ageing aircraft and for growth. Passenger load factor improved to 79% during the quarter (up five points from the same period in 2015). Passenger revenue for the quarter saw a 12% increase over the previous quarter.
The airline is owned by the Malaysian government’s strategic investment fund, Khazanah Nasional, and does not report financial results. However, it indicated that the net operating loss in Q3 was 7% less than in the previous quarter. The airline said it expects to record a loss for the year 2016, though significantly smaller than initially budgeted. Cost control remains a central focus.
The Group is still finalising plans for the formation of a new airline, utilising its six A380 aircraft, servicing the Haj and Umrah market.
The Group remains cautious in its outlook for FY2017, which it expects to be marked by a weak Malaysian Ringgit, Brexit uncertainty and potentially “gross overcapacity” in the Malaysian market, along with continued exposure to dollar volatility in the first half of 2017. It aims to deliver profitable growth by 2018.
The current year has been marked by the surprise departure of CEO Christoph Muller, after less than one year of a three-year contract. Muller was brought in to turn around the struggling carrier in the wake of the two tragic accidents — the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH117 — that hit the airline in 2014.