MAS Passengers Have Always Been Allowed To Bring Their Own Food

MAS Passengers Have Always Been Allowed To Bring Their Own Food

Earlier this week, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) made headlines for all the wrong reasons. It was ridiculed by Malaysians for its current policy allowing customers to bring their own food into flights.

The controversial policy is directly caused by the recent end of MAS’ partnership with its long-standing catering provider, Brahim’s Food Services (BFS).

Passengers have always been allowed to bring own food

However, Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) managing director, Datuk Captain Izham Ismail, has stated that the media misinterpreted the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page,

MAG is the parent company of MAS.

“Passengers have always been allowed to bring food anyway before this, except for certain food items (such as self-heating meals and foods that exude a strong smell). It is not because of the transition.” said Izham.

He said this in a special address towards reporters of selected media, where he also answered questions about the direction of MAS going forward.

In the address, Izham stated that while this move might bring them short-term issues, it is a necessary move for the long run.

According to Izham, negotiation with BFS over the extension of their catering service started in November last year, but to no avail.

“We couldn’t come (to an agreement), knowing the fact that BFS has a monopoly in the local in-flight catering market,” Izham said.

Izham also added that the existing contract terms with BFS were lopsided.

“We are aware of what would happen [when we terminated the catering contract with BFS] and of the feedback from consumers and stakeholders, but if we don’t have the courage to take on legacy contracts, then why do you need me as a CEO?” he told reporters from selected media on Tuesday.

“So my team needs guts to implement change and change is never pretty. We hope consumers understand this phase that we are going through. It will not be forever, [but] a short duration of time. The timeline is the third week of September, we will start serving more hot meals again because we will have the equipment to upload the meals onboard the aircraft,” stressed Izham.

Legacy contract was lopsided

When asked if MAG’s management truly understood the ramifications of addressing this legacy contract, Izham said that they were looking at the big picture of the situation.

“Yes. [We went in with our] eyes wide open. Will customers see degradation of food services? Definitely, but we are looking at the bigger picture. If I were nervous about this and not worried about consumers and stakeholders, then I will continue to inherit this lopsided contract,” said Izham.

MAG is exploring its options

In the address, Izham also stated that MAG is exploring their options going forward, which includes buying out Brahim’s Holdings Bhd’s (BHB) 70% stake in BFS or build its own flight kitchen.

“No doubt we have other catering players like Pos Aviation Sdn Bhd, which has a smaller capacity. Knowing that fact, how do we move forward? Do we build our own catering outfit? Do we get other people from overseas to open catering centres here? Or do we buy over BHB’s stake in BFS? These are the options available to us, but before we get there, we have to go through this pain.

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