By OMAR RIDZUAN
EVERYBODY knows that Malaysia Airlines is in deep financial trouble.
Many things have been done to turn the national carrier around such as undertaking job cuts, giving cash injection and dropping of routes.
But still, MAS still failed to turn around and is flying on empty.
MAS owner Khazanah Nasional plans to close down MAS and make its regional wing Firefly as the national carrier instead. Will this idea work?
An analyst at Maybank Securities said the idea makes a lot of sense as Firefly operates a succesful domestic airline.
“However, passengers need to get used to travelling on a turbo-prop plane instead of the narrow bodied Boeing 737 operated by MAS.”
Another analyst said the idea might work because Malaysia’s aviation sector is already at overcapacity with MAS, Malindo and AirAsia already crowding the market.
By taking away MAS, the aviation sector might just survive just like AirAsia which is now flying 80 planes instead of 350 planes.
“We have to think about the future of our aviation sector and the welfare of MAS 12,000 workers,” said the analyst.
He added over time, MAS/Firefly can slowly expand into the Asia Pacific region.
Firefly will also get to benefit from MAS jetplanes enabling it to takeover turbo-prop routes on domestic routes such as between Subang and Penang.
The government must also hasten the travel bubble concepts such as between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore or Bangkok.
This rebranding of MAS into Firefly might work after all as the national carrier shed its negative image caused by the MH370 and MH17 tragedies.
It is time for MAS to move forward as national sentiment does not pay the bills.
Moving forward does and it is time for MAS to look at a new beginning with Firefly.