Ex MD expresses caution regarding MAS-AirAsia deal
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) former managing director Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman says the recent share-swap deal between MAS and AirAsia does not necessarily mean a solution to the ailing national carrier which continues to suffer losses due to high operating costs.
Instead of hammering out a share swap, stakeholders should find out the reasons behind MAS’ current standing, which in his opinion are due to two possible causes “Firstly, it was due to lack of good management over the past 15 years and secondly, it may be caused by the government’s failure to have an orderly air transport policy.
“As far as I am concerned, AirAsia was initially approved on the ground that it travels to international routes not taken by MAS instead of what happened later, the frills-free airline was also involved in domestic routes.
“With Malaysia being a “price-sensitive” market, this collaboration would also bring about continuous competition for MAS,” said Aziz, when interviewed on “Kerusi Panas” (Hot Seat) programme hosted by Wan Syahrina Wan Abdul Rahman of Bernama Radio24 last night.
Domestic travellers would prefer to go for lower airfares rather than premium travelling, said Aziz, who served as MAS managing director and chief executive officer from 1982 till September 1991.
Aziz said, “Under such circumstances, both airlines are not cooperating but rather competing with each other in which MAS will ultimately lose out as it relies heavily on premium air travel service,” he said.
The share-swap deal signed last month expected to see MAS focusing on premium travel while AirAsia maintaining its grip on the low-cost sector. Aziz said it was also illogical to conclude that domestic airlines’ competitiveness in the international market would be enhanced by having a single entity through such collaboration as MAS already has the capabilities to do so.
“This move is unnecessary as MAS already has its own edge to compete globally such as quality services although it is still lacking in terms of a strong marketing strategy compared with the airlines in the Middle East,” he said.
For the future, Aziz suggested that MAS changed its way of handling flights, such as introducing low-cost seats within its fleet of aircraft in order to stay competitive.
He said a thorough study was needed should such a plan be taken into consideration.
Aziz also urged MAS and AirAsia to disclose more details about the nature of their collaboration to clear the air among various stakeholders in the country. He also held various posts in the national carrier throughout his 20-year stint there.