KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Bellew, said there was no interference from anybody in discharging his duties at the company but he was going to Ryanair Holdings plc as the love for his home country, Ireland, was pulling him back.
In a personal response to media queries, Bellew said, he got a call from Ryanair two weeks ago to be its Chief Operations Officer.
“It is Ireland’s greatest company.They need my help and there is a big challenge. It is a form of national service,” he said.
Bellew said when he was asked on Sept 27 if he would go to Ryanair, he said ‘No’, but a week later the call came.
“In life, we can really never say never. I am looking forward to being close again to my family and friends 14 hours away in Ireland,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines was “special” as it was not just an airline but one of the earliest symbols of the vibrancy of this amazing country, he said.
“People who have never flown in their life love it. Most of the country hopes it will thrive and be the pride of the nation again. It is a tough job to fix it.
“Success is just within our grasp. Just another four-five per cent in revenue monthly and it should move to profits,” he said.
He said it was not always easy to gain but in the second quarter revenue increased by seven per cent.
“The product is improving visibly: new wide-bodied planes, new lounges, new loyalty programme, new website and better operations in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
However, Bellew said, some work needed to be done on the food!
“Lots done – lots more to do,” he said.
He suggested that there be no changes to the brand as much work has been done globally through the media and travel agents to rebuild heritage.
“People love what Malaysia Airlines stands for. The brand is now revived from China to the UK and down to Australia.
“That work must continue and will yield the five per cent plus revenue growth,” he said.
He thanked Khazanah Nasional Bhd for accelerating transformation and Managing Director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, could not have been more supportive.
“Let me be clear. Khazanah is a Malaysian investment company linked to the government. It has been incredibly supportive of me personally and corporately.
I tried to be transparent on a daily basis, included them in most significant meetings and dragged their staff to work for us! It has worked well. There has been no interference,” he said.
Bellew said people always asked me how do I cope with government interference.
“There has been none for me. Zero interference,” he said. – Bernama