KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) has once again found itself a new commander to steer the airline towards profitability with the appointment of Captain Izham Ismail as its new group chief executive officer (GCEO).
Captain Izham, currently the chief operating officer (COO), will assume the role of GCEO on December 1 upon the departure of Peter Bellew, who is currently on administrative leave, prior to taking over the helm at low-cost Irish airline, Ryanair.
Speaking to Bernama, Shukor Yusof, founder of Endau Analytics, an aviation consultancy firm, said Malaysia Airlines’s future was uncertain again with Bellew’s departure and the only definite thing will be the arrival of eight Boeing Dreamliners, six Airbus A350s and six A330-200s.
When asked as to what would be the first task for the new GCEO, he said: “It is too early to say what the next CEO should do because different CEO’s have different styles.”
During his helm, Bellew mostly focused on controlling costs, competitive airfare and maximising load factor, however, Shukor argued that load factor was meaningless if yields were not positive.
Bellew was appointed to head the national carrier on July 1, 2016, taking over from Christoph Mueller, who left two years ahead of his contract after slashing 6,000 jobs in Malaysia Airlines in a move to restructure the airline’s financials.
Captain Izham will be the airline’s third CEO in three years.
Shukor said stern action must be taken against incompetent and inept staff within the airline should the new management wish to rehabilitate the company.
He also said the airline should be run as a business and be detached from Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
Meanwhile, an airline employee, known as Azhar, took the news positively and applauded the decision made by the Board of Directors of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) and Malaysia Airlines,
“It is the right decision. Izham is indeed a true leader,” he told Bernama. He said Izham, backed by 38 years of experience in the aviation industry, is the right man for to save MAG and MAB, thus moving the airline towards profitability.
“I believe Izham knows his way around Malaysia Airlines. Captain Izham is soft spoken, humble and very approachable. I’m fairly new in this airline but when I met him (Izham) he asked me what can be done further for the airline’s future. From this, we can deduce that he really wants something better for the national carrier,” he said.
Azhar said Captain Izham’s principle of ‘live happily together’ with sister companies says much about the trust placed in this pilot in steering the airline out of turbulence. — Bernama