Malaysia Airlines coming back from the abyss

first_imgMalaysia Airlines was already in deep financial trouble as it entered 2014 and the twin tragedies of flights MH370 and MH17 only made things worse.The airline had lost $A1.5 billion since 2011 and the crashes saw its loss for the second quarter ending  June 30 of that fateful year burgeon to almost $A100 million as passengers stayed away. This was the sixth straight quarterly loss for the airline but it was almost double the loss for the corresponding quarter in the previous year.The response of the Malaysian government was to re-nationalise the airline and move it into a new company structure.This saw state-run Khazanah Nasional, which already owned 69.4 per cent of the airline, pay  $A450 million for the remaining 30.6 per cent of the shares and de-list it at the end of 2014.A few months later, an administrator was appointed to oversee the transfer of assets and liabilities from the existing company to a new vehicle, Malaysia Airlines Berhad.Then chief executive Christoph Mueller also set about what he called a “hard reset’’ for an airline he said had been technically bankrupt.In a restructure likened to US Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the airline offered jobs to just 14,000 of its 20,000 staff, sold buildings, shed some planes, reduced the size of aircraft on some routes and cut frequencies on others.The one change the Malaysians resisted, despite forecasts to the contrary,  was to change the name of the national carrier. The airline is now  two-and-a -half years into its recovery and parent company Kahazanah has spent more than RM5 billion($A1.49 billion) of the RM6 billion it set aside for the five-year process.But Khazanah managing director Azman Mokhtar said the recovery was slightly ahead of schedule, cash flow was increasing and suggested the airline could break even next year.His comments came after the carrier’s current chief executive, Peter Bellew, said in October there was no need for extra funding from Khazanah because targets were being met.The restructure has seen significant changes in Malaysia’s fleet and product as it moves to re-focus on growth within  Asia, with China a principal target, and uses codeshare deals with airlines such as Emirates to build its long-haul international are the long-haul Boeing 777 and 747 passenger aircraft and the airline’s fleet of six flagship Airbus A380 super-jumbos are destined to be reconfigured and leased for religious pilgrimages such as the Haj.  There are hints the airline could later this year order 25 widebody jets — either Airbus A330neos or Boeing 787 Dreamliners — to progressively replace its 15 Airbus A330-300s and give it the flexibility for growth.This would be in addition to six long-haul Airbus A350-900s on order as replacements for the A380s on routes such as London. The biggest part of Malaysia’s fleet, its narrowbody aircraft, is also getting an upgrade. The carrier has 25 next generation 737 MAX 8s  on order plus purchase rights on 2, Deliveries start in 2019 and these fuel- efficient aircraft fly further than carrier’s existing fleet of B737-800s and can carry more passengers.But as Bellew noted in an interview with Air Transport World last year, the delivery of the new 737s  will mean more than just the arrival of a new aircraft type.“Malaysia Airlines’ future is now safe and secure,’’ he said “The new aircraft make that a reality for our employees.’’Bellew told reporters at an industry gathering on Tuesday in Hong Kong that a sales and marketing blitz, combined with new inflight menus and product such as lie-flat business seats, had helped bring customers back.Confirming that the airline was meeting key performance goals and was on track to return to profitability in 2018, he said its load factor had averaged 82 per cent in the third quarter and 90 per cent in December.  These sorts of figures look promising in terms the Malaysian government’s aim of eventually relisting the airline on the stock exchange.last_img read more

Ships pitch in for 2010

first_imgThe MS Noordam and Westerdam will grace South African waters during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. (Image: Holland American Line) The 2010 Fifa World Cup will see some visitors flying to South Africa, some driving in, and others sailing in, courtesy of a deal between two travel companies in Germany and South Africa.iKapa Tours & Travel in Cape Town and Munich-based Moltke Promotion GmbH have teamed up to bring two luxury cruise liners to the port cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban during the football spectacular.The magnificent MS Noordam and MS Westerdam will grace South Africa’s major ports for the full month of the 2010 World Cup, which kicks off on 11 June.Both are ships of the Holland America Line, which has regular routes to all continents except Africa.Registered in Rotterdam, both are also relatively new to the water – the Westerdam was christened in April 2004 and the Noordam in February 2006.With 1 617 crew between them and a passenger capacity of 1 918 and 1 916 respectively, the Noordam and Westerdam is expecting to bring between 15 000 and 20 000 football-mad travellers to experience not only the South African passion for the Beautiful Game, but the vibrant culture and traditions of the country.The Westerdam will operate between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, while the Noordam will convey passengers between Durban and Port Elizabeth. The ships’ vast passenger capacity will also help alleviate any accommodation shortages in the three cities.Although there is only one passenger terminal, in Durban, and the others are cargo ports, promotion manager One Ocean Club, a Moltke subsidiary, has booked convenient locations in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town harbours, and will convert these areas into temporary passenger zones.African sights and soundsA number of day and half-day excursions have been planned to suit every cruise passenger’s taste.In Cape Town, half-day options include visits to Table Mountain and the city, Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch botanical garden, a cultural tour, or a tour of the townships. Full-day choices range from trips around the breathtaking Cape peninsula, to the winelands, up the west coast, or to Hermanus on the south coast.While in Durban, passengers can take half a day to visit uShaka Marine World, the Umgeni River Bird Park, the Indian market, or the surrounding townships. The more energetic can indulge in full-day trips to the Valley of 1 000 Hills, the Midlands, Shakaland Cultural Village, or game reserves in the area.In Port Elizabeth the options extend to half-day tours of the city or townships, as well as museums and art galleries, or the nearby Kragga Kamma game reserve. Full-day trips further afield include deep sea fishing, the Addo Elephant National Park or Tsitsikamma Forest, and a private game reserve.For those who can’t bear to be away from the greens for too long, One Ocean Club will arrange bookings at upmarket golf courses in the three cities.Experienced operatorOne Ocean Club is no stranger to the floating hotel concept.During the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens it organised a similar package with the official German ship AIDAaura. The company has promised visitors to South Africa an even better experience, as it now brings its expertise to the biggest football tournament in the world.One Ocean Club has promised to make extensive use of local resources such as security and technical services, while using iKapa as the official transportation and excursion partner. It will also source fresh food supplies exclusively from local producers, and will stock world-renowned South African wines.The company is offering a variety of packages, ranging from between two and four nights and one group match, or five nights and a semi-final game, to two nights and the final.The semi-finals will take place at Green Point stadium in Cape Town and Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. Johannesburg’s spectacular Soccer City hosts the final, while the matches to decide third and fourth place take place at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth.last_img read more

Initiative to boost E Cape auto industry

first_img20 March 2012 The Eastern Cape Automotive Sector Support Initiative was launched in Port Elizabeth on Monday, with the government, industry and labour set to collaborate on a number of measures to advance the sector in the province. “Today marks the start of a process of ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors in the Eastern Cape to jointly formulate responses and implement key programmes in the automotive sector,” Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said at the launch. Joint provincial programmes Joint programmes already agreed upon cover the areas of logistics, skills development, and supplier development, localisation and incubation. The support initiative will work on developing the road and rail corridor between Port Elizabeth and East London, and between the Eastern Cape and Gauteng province, while also undertaking regular skills and needs audits in the sector. It will also work with the Durban Auto Cluster to implement the Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Project. National development programme Davies said the national Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) has contributed positively to the motor industry in terms of production and export values. “Production volumes have grown from about 389 000 units in 1995 to a peak of 587 719 units in 2006 before dipping to 373 923 units in 2009, and bouncing back to 532 545 units in 2011,” Davies said. The MIDP is being phased out, and will be replaced by the Automotive Production Development Programme (APDP), which comes into operation in 2013. Davies said there was an opportunity to increase the local content in domestically assembled vehicles, coupled with an expansion of the component export basket. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Yuvraj creates history at World Cup

first_imgMan-of-the-Match Yuvraj Singh, whose impressive all-round performance helped India beat Ireland by five wickets on Sunday, created history during the match.He became the first cricketer ever to claim a five-wicket haul and score a half-century in a singles World Cup match.Yuvraj Singh finished with figures of 10-0-31-5 and then scored an unbeaten 50 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.     A peek into the records that he surpassed on the day:– Yuvraj Singh became the first player to score a half century (50 not out) and take a five-wicket haul (5/31) in a World Cup match. The bowling figures are also his best in ODIs.– Yuvraj Singh (5-31) also became the first left-arm spinner to take five wickets in a World Cup match. Incidentally, Yuvraj himself owned the previous record of best bowling by a left-arm spinner in World Cups when he returned the figures of 4 for 6 against Namibia in the 2007 edition.– Yuvraj is only the fourth Indian bowler to take a five-for in the World Cup, after Kapil Dev, Robin Singh and Ashish Nehra.last_img read more