Earning the business in the airline business


It hasn’t been a great year for Malaysia Airlines. Duncan Bureau, the company’s senior vice president for global sales and distribution, chats with Penang Monthly on the airline’s fortunes and on what needs doing.

As Malaysia Airlines (Mas) senior vice president for global sales and distribution Duncan Bureau gave his presentation at the inaugural Asia Pacific Tourism, Hospitality and Technology (Apthat) Conference in Kuching last November, the word “PROFIT” popped up on one of his slides. “Being in the airline business, I didn’t know what it meant,” he said dryly. “I had to look it up.”

The audience laughed knowingly. Earlier in the presentation, Bureau pointed out that the average return on invested capital for an airline was a ridiculous -5%. And as if to hammer the point home, just days before his presentation Mas posted a massive third quarter loss in 2013 of RM375.4mil, even though revenue had actually gone up over the previous year to RM3.906bil.

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