Malaysia Airlines, headed up by Meath man Peter Bellew, saw passenger traffic grow to 3.8m customers last year, but warned that currency issues, fierce competition and the risk of a price war makes 2017 a challenging year.
Bellew joined the troubled airline in 2015, after stints as General Manager of Kerry Airport and Ryanair’s Chief Operations Officer. He succeeded former Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller as Malaysia’s CEO last July. Bellew said load factor rose to 81pc in the last quarter of 2016, hitting 90pc last December.
But he said the airline faced tough months ahead. “Looking forward, the group remains cautious in the outlook for 2017, where the weaker Ringgit to the US dollar, overcapacity, and intense competition are expected to be the dominant themes for the year. The group continues to maintain strong year on year load performance and believes it will improve on targets for 2017, barring unexpected adverse declines in 2017 airfares due to overcapacity and intense competition,” he said.
The financial update came as the carrier warned that the delivery of its first Airbus A350 is expected to be delayed from the manufacturer by one to two months to December 2017. This may force the airline to seek additional widebody aircraft from Airbus or Boeing.
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