Flying business class with Malaysia Airlines could soon be cheaper.
The newly appointed chief executive officer of the struggling airline, Christoph Mueller, has hinted at a possible offering that would allow passengers to book cheaper business class tickets if they forgo lounge access and frequent flyer points.
He also suggested making it easier to book flexible itineraries, so that a passenger could fly economy one way, and business on return.
Speaking to Aviation Week at the recent International Air Transport Association in Miami, Mueller said he hopes to transform the airline into a “value carrier” offering basic products with the option of premium perks for those willing to fork out the extra cash.
The “unbundling” of airfares is not new, but the model has been mostly confined to economy-class fares on low-cost carriers so far.
Malaysia Airlines is currently undergoing massive restructure. It adopted a new name, Malaysia Airlines Berhad from September 1, cutting unprofitable routes, selling (or leasing) two of its new Airbus A380s and cutting about 6,000 staff.
It had been unprofitable for three years and was under financial pressure following two aircraft disasters – flights MH370 and MH17 – less than five months apart.
It was nationalised in 2014 by the government-owned investment arm Khazanah Nasional after debts reached nearly US$2 billion (RM7.52 billion) with aims to have the airline back in profitability by 2017.