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Ticket sales fall at struggling Malaysia Airlines

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While dealing with tragedy, airline suspends advertising

A month after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished en route to Beijing, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told journalists that the airline is continuing to focus on the needs of passengers’ families and is waiting until the crisis passes before assessing how it has affected business.

Sales have been hit, with some reports saying they’re down 35% in some markets. But “our primary focus right now is that we do take care of the families in terms of their emotional needs and also their financial needs,” he said. “It is important that we provide answers for them. It is important that the world has answers, as well.”

The chief executive admitted that ticket sales have suffered since the plane disappeared with 239 people on board, adding that this was in part because the airline had suspended advertising promotions.

Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, said in a recent interview: “We can only look back at history to see the impact on airlines with reputation. Naturally, you will see a decline. But the general pattern is of a steady recovery, and ultimately, a full recovery.”

State-owned Malaysia Airlines has long been struggling to cut costs and battle low-cost carriers and other full-service carriers in the region. It posted a deepening full-year loss of 1.17 billion ringgit ($356 million) in 2013. It had already cut unprofitable routes to North and South America and South Africa and lowered fares to fill seats on core routes in Asia.

Wall Street Journal

[pictured: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747 in special “Hibiscus” livery, at Heathrow Airport, 2007]

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