Khazanah: Malaysia Airlines turnaround plans delayed, profitability expected next year

By Jamny Rosli
Khazanah Managing Director Tan Sri Datuk Azman Mokhtar speaking during the 14th Khazanah Annual Review 2018 at Menara UEM on January 18, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) is slightly behind schedule in its turnaround plans due to the volatility of currencies and oil prices, Khazanah Nasional Bhd said today.

Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said at a media briefing today at the state-owned investment company’s 14th annual review that MAB would have broken even six months earlier if not for the currency factor.

"The national carrier is now expected to be profitable next year instead of this year.

"However, with the recovery of the brand, it is projected that the latest [for] MAB to break even [is] as early as the second half of this year or the first half of 2019," he said.

Khazanah is the sole shareholder of MAB. It said the airline was on a continued path to progress in its restructuring.

Among MAB’s progress that Khazanah cited was the appointment of Captain Izham Ismail as group chief executive officer in October 2017.

Izham replaced Peter Bellew when the latter quit to join Ryanair after serving as MAB CEO for just a little more than a year. Bellew’s predecessor, Christoph Mueller, had also left the national carrier before the end of his contract.

Khazanah also noted today that MAB has started taking delivery of the new Airbus A350-900 aircraft with special Negaraku livery. Four more aircrafts are expected to be received by the airline.