By MARK RAO / Pic By TMR
Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) was surprised by Ryanair Holdings Plc’s announcement that the national carrier’s CEO Peter Bellew would be rejoining his former employer.
The national carrier in a statement said the Ryanair’s announcement was “unexpected” as Bellew had reiterated his commitment to MAB at a press conference with the Malaysian and international press on September 27 this year.
“He (Bellew) said that he was happy to be in Malaysia and that the turnaround of the airline would be the greatest achievement of my life,” MAB said.
The Malaysia Airlines said the board will meet and make the appropriate announcement in due course. Operations at the national carrier will continue as normal.
“The turnaround of MAB remains on track and on schedule, as per the MAS Recovery Plan,” said MAB.
MAB statement did not state if Bellew has tendered his resignation. Khazanah Nasional Bhd is the sole owner of MAB.
Ryanair made the announcement today, claiming Bellew who left the European low-cost carrier three years ago, will return as the carrier’s COO effective December 1, 2017.
He left Ryanair to join Malaysia Airlines as part of a special team assembled to undertake a RM6 billion overhauling at the national carrier.
According to Ryanair’s statement, Bellew will take over the airline’s flight operations, ground operations and engineering with specific responsibility for pilot production, training and career development.
The low-cost carrier that is based in Dublin, wants the pilot rostering error that happened early in September this year will not be repeated.
“Having worked previously in a senior role in our operations team, Bellew has an unrivalled knowledge of our business model and how we maintain controlled growth, with industry leading punctuality, for the benefit of our customers and our people,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said in the statement.
“Bellew will lead a significant transformation in the way we reward and interact with our pilots, improve their working environment and career development over the coming years as we grow the fleet to some 600 aircraft and expand our traffic, at lower fares, to 200 million customers per annum.”
Bellew has just completed over a year at the helm after the abrupt departure of Christoph Mueller.
Bellew said he was excited to return home and take up the challenge at his former company.
“I look forward to working with all the team and all the crews I know so well to further develop our growth to 600 aircraft over the next 6 years,” Bellew was reported as saying. Bellew was the director of flight operations for Ryanair before joining Malaysia Airlines.
The media has been speculating about Bellew’s return to Ryanair since last month.