After the disappearance of MH370 back in March and the attack on Flight 17 over the Ukraine 10 days ago that resulted in the deaths of 298 people, Malaysia Airlines is planning a rebrand that likely includes changing the company’s name.
The airline, which is majority-owned by the Malaysian government, is seeking outside investment, is rethinking its routes and is considering additional outsourcing options for both PR and financial reasons.
The airline is also pressing for an international body to monitor the skies.
Renaming a company is not typically a rebranding option that’s on the table. But given the extreme nature of the news from Malaysia Airlines, it might not be a bad idea. Though the incidents involving both flights are extreme and out of the ordinary, they’re also so severe that they cut at the heart of the company and its reputation. Safety and security, more than anything else, are the most important qualities of any airline. It’s now etched into the history books that Malaysia Airlines was involved in the massive loss of life involved in two disasters in less than six months.
Hugh Dunleavy, the airline’s commercial director, says the implications of the apparent missile attack that brought down Flight MH17 go beyond just Malaysia Airlines. In an article for The Telegraph, he says, “It could have been any one of several well-known airlines operating in the same flight corridor that day. unprecedented impact on the aviation industry… We are not intelligence agencies, but airlines, charged with carrying passengers in comfort between destinations.
“Against the backdrop of areas with increasingly volatile political situations, such as Ukraine and Gaza, we as an industry must act now to create a system of approval that guarantees safe air passage for all commercial airlines,” he adds.
The article is a defense of the airline’s decision to fly over Ukraine despite the strife on the ground. But it’s also a proposition for the entire industry; an attempt to turn this tragedy into an opportunity for the airline to speak as a leader about what they see is a hole in policy and procedure.
“No longer should airlines bear the responsibility of deeming flight paths safe or unsafe,” he continues. “… Ultimately, we need one body to be the arbiter of where we can fly. Airlines such as ours should be left to focus on the quality of our product in the air, not on the air corridor we fly in, which should be guaranteed as safe passage.”
Dunleavy says the Malaysian government is already assessing things from the business point of view. Last year, the government invested £1.8 billion in airline, but, according to The Telegraph, outside investment is also seen as a way of boosting “confidence” in the business.
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