Just to see how much MAS has changed, read this 1998 article on MAS:
Four Asian Carriers In a Balancing Act to Survive
Airlines in the Asia/Pacific region which so far have survived
the economic crisis are likely to come out of it alive, according to
analysts in the region. While many of those airlines may look like
completely different carriers in a few years with reduced fleets and
restructured routes, industry experts agreed that they nonetheless
will emerge intact.
Four airlines – Asiana, Philippine Airlines (PAL), Garuda and
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) – are consistently flagged as having the most
serious problems. Still, in the event of bankruptcy, Garuda and
Malaysia are expected to be bailed out by their respective governments..
And now this is what is said of MAS in 2008:
2008 TPC Report Highlights Airline Survivability
Aug 8, 2008
By Adrian Schofield and James Ott The latest Top-Performing Companies report proves once again how quickly fortunes can change in the airline industry. The 2007 version showed legacy carriers gaining strength as the lingering effects of the post-2001 slump finally dissipated. But just a year later, the focus has switched to which can best ride out yet another potentially destructive downturn.
With few exceptions airlines are under extreme financial pressure as economies falter and oil prices remain abnormally high. A siege mentality is beginning to take hold, with traffic demand starting to slide and airlines in most regions slashing capacity. “The industry will go on, but only after a deep transformation and a new focus on efficiency,” observes Christian Torrego of PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the advisers who helped Aviation Week & Space Technology analyze this year’s TPC results (see p. 54).
The TPC study offers clues about who the winners and losers will be as this transformation unfolds. One trend in particular that stands out is the continued strong showing of Asia-Pacific carriers at the top of the rankings.
Another factor that must be considered is state ownership. Many airlines in this region – including Malaysia and SIA – have significant levels of government investment, which is not factored into the rankings. While this can be an advantage, the TPC analysts agree that in the case of the top two in particular, they are so commercially successful that any government safety net is probably of little consequence.
To be sure, regional advantages only tell part of the story: After all, Asian carriers also dominate the bottom eight of the majors’ ranking chart. The four at the top end have management structures that for years have focused on financial discipline, Hamlin says. TPC adviser Michael Dyment, of Nexa Capital Partners, notes SIA’s management in particular has been bottom-line oriented, focused on efficiency, and has invested well in technology and equipment.
SIA has been a perennial overachiever, and it recorded a massive $1.5-billion net profit for the fiscal year ending March 2008. The TPC rankings use data from SIA’s previous fiscal year, but the analysts agree that latest results prove it deserves its place at the top.
Malaysia has turned out to be the biggest surprise in this year’s report. The airline bounded from 17th to second place in the course of a year by making sound decisions on route streamlining and dramatically improving its revenue management.
Well done to Idris and the team at MAS.