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We are looking at achieving close to 100% capacity in Indian Market by 2023: Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi, CEO of Airlines, MAG

As the global air travel is seen to hasten toward the pre-pandemic levels, a lot of ground is still yet to be covered with regard to meeting the surge in demand, building capacities, connecting destinations, and more. Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi, Chief Executive Officer of Airlines, Malaysia Aviation Group talks to T3, how the scenario is unfolding for the year 2023 and beyond.

Excerpts from the interview:

How does your quarterly performance (Q1, Q2) scenario look like? What is the overall percentage of traffic & load factor from the routes operating from India?

With the reopening of borders in 2022, we have since emerged on greater footing financially and operationally, with parent company Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) having achieved three consecutive quarters of financial profitability since 3Q 2022. In Q1 2023, we recorded RM550 million in operating profit, while revenue reached RM3.39 billion, 7% ahead of the group’s target for the quarter.

Malaysia Airlines has achieved 90% of its pre-COVID capacity and expects to reach pre-COVID levels once China demand starts to bounce back by the end of Q4 2023. In addition, Malaysia Airlines will also inject more capacity to destinations that have experienced a surge in demand such as Australia and South Asia. Average load factor from India is at 81% for YTD June 2023. We are looking at achieving close to 100% capacity in the Indian market by the end of this year.

What is the current operational profile in India and overall?

India remains one of our key focus markets. We have increased our connectivity from India to Malaysia from 52 weekly flights to 55 weekly flights with the reinstatement of three new flights from Bangalore beginning April 2023. 

As a member of the Oneworld alliance, Malaysia Airlines connects to more than 900 destinations in over 170 territories. Placing significant emphasis on India, we will continue to review opportunities in the market and will gradually add new routes, increase frequencies, or upgrade aircraft to meet the increased travel demand.

Please draw light on your recent partnerships, and strategy for upcoming associations.

At Malaysia Airlines, we recognize the significance of collaboration and have established strategic alliances with airlines worldwide. Specifically for travelers from India, Malaysia Airlines has interline partnerships with Air India and Vistara, enabling seamless journeys on connecting flights operated by both carriers. Additionally, we are actively exploring opportunities for codeshare partnerships with Indian airlines or those within the Oneworld community.

What promotional & marketing strategies are you looking to incorporate for Indian market for the Monsoon season?

At our airline, we prioritize hyper-personalization, which involves segmenting customers, creating tailored products, and crafting targeted marketing messages for relevant channels. To provide targeted offerings, we have developed specialized programs such as MH Explorer for students and MH Biz Pro for SMEs and corporates.

Our Horizontal Fare Family (HFF) offers flexible fare options (Lite, Basic, and Flex) tailored to customers’ travel needs, preferences, and budgets, each with unique benefits like baggage allowance and seat selections.

Additionally, our Bonus Side Trip program promotes travel to Malaysia, allowing passengers to explore cultural destinations like Alor Setar, Langkawi, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Penang, and more at minimal costs. We are also working closely with State Tourism Boards to position Malaysia as a top-of-mind wedding destination.

Which Indian routes are gaining maximum yield? Which new routes are on your radar for expansion?

We aim to add two more flights from Kochi by the end of August, which will increase our flight frequency from India from 55 weekly flights to 57. In order to strengthen our customer base in India, we have partnered with Acumen Overseas to enhance our services and offerings tailored to the Indian market.

Globally, the routes we operate are experiencing consistent growth in load factor performance and robust forward bookings. This trend is especially prominent during the festive season, with domestic Malaysian destinations (specifically Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah/Sarawak) and international destinations like Bali, Phuket, Bangkok, Jakarta, as well as long-haul destinations such as London, Australia, and India, showcasing strong load factors.






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