This year one of Malaysia Airline’s major priorities is building a support network with Travel Advisors to rebuild industry trust in their airline as a quality brand and product.
We spoke to Malaysia Airlines new Regional Manager for Australia/ New Zealand Giles Gilbert to learn more about what he has planned for 2019, especially when it comes to the carrier’s relationship with the travel trade.
What inspired you to come back to Malaysia Airlines as the Regional Manager for Australia/New Zealand?
I was at Malaysia Airlines for 15 years previously and it has always been a company I’ve truly believed in. The company has clearly had a few rough years but change is good and the company is much stronger and focused than ever before.
The team in Australia has been restructured and the network is continuously growing. Malaysia as a destination serves so many different market segments, be it a honeymoon, family holiday, city break, nature, World Heritage sites, adventure and culture.
What do you hope to achieve in this new role?
MH has been rebuilding and is poised for the next phase of growth. I’ve set a big target to achieve and to do this we’re building a support network with our trade partners. We need to show them how great MH really is.
Our Malaysian hospitality is as good as it ever has been and we want to demonstrate this so our trade partners can be confident about our product and offerings.
What do you think the biggest opportunities are for Malaysia Airlines this year?
Clearly, we are focusing on Malaysia as a destination, but the ASEAN and Asian markets, in general, are our bread and butter.
We need to regain our reputation as a quality brand and product, and to do this we will embark on much more marketing and promotion to both consumer and trade.
Can Australians expect any new routes this year?
There are added frequencies and services for Australia, which have just been announced. We have already committed to just over 7% ASK growth from Australia in 2019 and if all goes well, I’m sure there will be more.
As for the company, we have already announced new routes this year in our key markets, and there are more in the pipeline.
How is the Brisbane to KL route performing since its return?
To return to Brisbane was clearly the right thing to do. It is performing ahead of expectation, however; we still need further improvement. A new route does not become profitable overnight, but the signs are very encouraging and if we can keep the momentum going, I am sure that the route will be a success.
We have a great Industry Account Manager in Brisbane, Kat, and she is doing a fantastic job reconnecting to our trade partners. We are absolutely committed to Brisbane and once the numbers stack up, I’m sure there will be further increases to the route.
What are you doing to encourage Travel Advisors to sell MH?
Right now it’s early days for me, however, I am working on some industry-wide promotions and specials. Obviously, the commission is fundamental and we are committed to retaining a fair and reasonable commission, but on top of that, we want to see as many Advisors experience our product as possible.
Are you planning any famils for Advisors?
Absolutely. Our sales team have been directed to bring Advisors on board; be it famils, industry fares and aircraft inspections – whatever we can do.
Travel advisors (and they are advisors) need to know what the product is really like for them to be able to confidently sell it. The message is very clear; we will support those that support us.
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- READ: Malaysia Airlines returns to Brisbane after a 3-year break
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