Malaysia Airlines has shown slow but steady progress in Q1 2018 with customer satisfaction index up 4% quarter-on-quarter. It also saw a year-on-year (yoy) yield improvement of 6.6% in the first quarter ended 31 March 2018 despite the significant competition in both international and domestic sectors. Revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) also followed suit, showing growth of 3.5% yoy with overall total revenue also growing by 2% YoY.
In a bid to understand the future traveller, the airline also held a Digital IT Junior Disruptor Programme, a collaborative programme with children and teens between the ages of 12 and 17. The programme was aimed at exploring and understanding the needs of the traveller of tomorrow.
It also organised was the Delay Handling Lab to provide customers with a more seamless travel experience and to improve disruption handling, said MAB in a statement. This comes shortly after setting up a Customer Experience Task Force last year to address the gaps across all customer touch points based on customer feedback. These initiatives contributed to a positive improvement in the airline’s overall Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) scores which rose to 74% in this quarter, as compared to 70% in Q4 2017.
The quarter also saw the airline introduce its new brand campaign anchored around Malaysian Hospitality. The aim of this campaign is to re-emphasise the truly Malaysian experience that encompasses all aspects of the airline’s customer experience, reflected in its products and services.
The campaign will be rolled out in the next quarter via the release of a new TV commercial across all platforms.
More digital enhancements
In its journey towards becoming a digital airline, Malaysia Airlines rolled out several key technological enhancements in the quarter. The airline recently unveiled an enhanced MHupgrade which provides a quicker and more seamless bidding system for customers to upgrade flights. It also introduced the Amadeus Anytime Merchandise initiative to boost ancillary revenue whilst promising “customers more convenience in purchasing travel insurance and pre-booked seats”.
In addition to this, a series of technology talks and collaborations with Microsoft was also carried out in the first quarter, with the aim of saving time, travel and cost for employees. These programmes will continue throughout the year in line with the airline’s aim of providing its employees with collaborative tools and technology to boost productivity and reduce operational costs.
The Code of Practice and EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) was introduced and rolled out across the group in this quarter. The initiatives under this code include training and readiness assessments for all frontline staff, ahead of the implementation of this legislation.
To date, a total of 5,500 employees across the group have been trained and equipped with knowledge on EU GDPR.
Malaysia Airlines Group (MAG) chief executive officer Izham Ismail said, “Our performance is on budget for quarter one […]and I am heartened by the relatively encouraging first quarter of 2018, especially after a challenging FY-2017 which saw the company under-perform against budget.”
He added that the brand’s performance last year was hampered by an adverse exchange rate swing which saw the depreciation of the Malaysian Ringgit (RM) against the US dollar. Nonetheless, despite improvements in the quarter, the airline is preparing itself for a tough year ahead with competition and exchange rate volatility. Escalating fuel prices remain a particular concern, up almost 100% from early 2016.
“Overall, we expect to see improvements in our performance in the later part of this year and against this backdrop, we are working hard to deliver sustained profitability in 2019,” he added.