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MALINDO AIR: A True Competitor in the Skies

Interview Malindo CEO by Mibrand

MALINDO Airways Sdn. Bhd is another Malaysian airline company that has successfully made a breakthrough in the international aviation market. 2018 marks their fifth year here; it is now an well-known brand in the region. MiBrand was interested to know how they achieved that in such a short time, and so we set out to explore and establish some facts.

MALINDO AIR is headed by Mr Chandran Ramamurthy, who previously worked at Singapore’s Lion Air. MiBrand had the chance to interview him and find out more about MALINDO’s journey this past five years.

MALINDO’s Raison D’etre

MALINDO’s journey in getting a foothold in the Malaysian airlines market is mainly due to their commitment to providing value for travelers. The main attraction is affordable fares while not compromising on passenger safety and comfort. This has been their effective selling point, and it has apparently proven positive for this young company in Malaysia. Among the extra perks that MALINDO seems to give passengers is extra leg space, duty free purchases in the air, refreshments and rewards for miles charted.

They have an impressive fleet of aircraft, a total of 45, comprising of sixteen ATR72-600 aircraft and twenty-nine Boeing 737NG. They operate as many as 800 flights a week along 46 routes with plans to expand. Many of the routes are in the Asian and Australian regions. MALINDO has the largest airline fleet in Southeast Asia and is jointly owned by the Malaysian National Aerospace and Defence Industries and Indonesia’s Lion Air.

These two pluses definitely sets them apart from the competitors. In recognition, MALINDO has won many awards in the short time it has been in operation; a prestigious award that needs mention is the CAPA 2016 award for Asia Pacific Regional Airline of the Year.

MALINDO is also a member of IATA, the International Air Transport Association, which has helped them network with some of the leading airlines from all over the world. From these crucial relationships, MALINDO has managed to secure code share and interline partnerships with eight international airline. These airline companies include Xiamen Air, All Nippon Airways, Turkish Airline, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Oman Air as well as their sister companies, Batik Air and Lion Air.

Mr. Chandran, the CEO of MALINDO AIR expresses his appreciation for the support of other industry players and for the confidence passengers have placed in the young airline.

Interview Malindo CEO by Mibrand

Overtaking the Competitors

In 2016, the Centre of Aviation reported that MALINDO had managed to gain almost half of the additional passengers for that year. MALINDO is turning heads as this puts them ahead of many other established airline companies.

Mr. Chandran has stresses that the strategy to achieve this growth is to try and fill in gaps found in the industry. They needed to learn the demands and trends of travelers, the consumers prefer. MALINDO then tries to fulfill these preferences in the most budget friendly way possible, thus providing value for money.

MALINDO is also dedicated to gathering feedback from passengers; they have learnt that most passengers are very contented with the leg room, baggage allowance, on-board meals, in-flight entertainment and Business Class facilities. Constant and regular market research to learn the various trends in the travel industry helps to strategize by offering the best flight times at the best prices In order to attract more travelers.

The Best Business Environment

Mr. Chandran admits that all the countries he has worked in have been great and with due cooperation and support from local governments and administrations. The primary officials have provided effective liaison between the local government and MALINDO administration.  bare crucial providing the various support needed. The working environment became more positive with such collaboration between business and government.

Although certain minor or temporary setbacks were encountered, these were quickly overcome by MALINDO. The general consensus is that they were able to function and thrive as long as they adhered to the rules and regulations set by each country that they have operated in.

Technology to Grow Business

MALINDO is actually a child of the technological age, and the entire business has been designed to be dynamic and depend on the latest innovations in networking and database mangement. The advancement of technology has positively impacted MALINDO in terms of time and cost effectiveness, which then contributes to increased productivity, hence resulting in smoother operation flow.

Communications with potential customers have been made quicker and more productive, with shorter turnaround times whenever a campaign is launched. The airline is also able to interact easily with travelers through various social media platforms, solving problems and answering questions.

 The internet has also provided customers with ways to seek honest reviews about MALINDO, which will definitely help guide their choice to fly with the airline. In addition to this, the MALINDO website, which functions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week enables travelers to book their flights anywhere in the world at any time.

MALINDO has plans to go for complete digital cockpit environment that will translate to a paperless flying deck. It is hoped that this initiative will increase efficiency and make flight operations smoother and more productive. Mr Chandran says that although the cost of incorporating the latest technology into daily operations is high, the long term benefits make it worthwhile. The important task is to couple technology with proper market and investment research in order to ensure maximum benefit.

Keys to Success

As CEO of the youngest airline in Southeast Asia Mr. Chandran Ramamurthy shares with us some tips on how to approach various circumstances :

1.On customer education 

“One of my ongoing challenges is in regards to customers making decisions based on pricing alone. I feel there’s a need to appreciate the value of products and deals not by monetary standards but by what the package offers, which is a wholesome travel experience which includes baggage allowances, meal on board, in-flight entertainment, the convenience of flying from KLIA as well as international seamless connectivity through our network and code share partners. This is what we’re trying to educate travelers about”

2. On being a successful leader 

“I consider a successful leader is one who has made their employees happy. A leader is able to inspire trust and is confident enough to nurture new talent into becoming future leaders”

3. On understanding customers 

“The empowerment of customers with online information to make decisions has raised the bar on customer expectations. That is why an airline like us needs to continue innovating and diversifying. One of the efforts is by offering travel related products, such as MALINDO Holidays, MALINDO Air Travel Protection, MALINDO Miles, onboard duty free etc, in order to keep up with the market.”

4. On the future of the airline industry 

“The airline industry is changing so rapidly, as we can see in the past 20 years. There are changes we never imagined or predicted. The airline industry requires great focus and a dedication to maintain a high level of safety standards, which may eventually restrict the number of players in the industry.”

5. On the challenges MALINDO will face 

“The greatest and on-going challenge we probably have is to be even better than who we are today, making our passenger happier and remain as their preferred choice at all times by international standards“

6. On the future of MALINDO itself 

“MALINDO Air has very good potential, especially judging from the pace we have grown regionally  in a short period of time. We strive to be the renowned and preferred airline in the region through our excellent products, great customer services and continuous effort to expand our route network.”

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