Malaysia Airlines must swallow bitter pill to recover — Qatar Airways CEO

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LANGKAWI (Oct 17): Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) will have to swallow some very bitter medicine in order to recover, said Qatar Airways Group chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker.

He said that he had shared his views on MAB’s situation with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during their meeting recently.

"It was a respectful visit, to see if there is anything that we can do to help MAB. (Dr Mahathir) had welcomed me because he has known me for a long time and had listened carefully to what I had to say on what needs to be done for MAB’s recovery. But I can't go too much into details about what I told the Prime Minister.

"MAB is a very good airline but it is facing some problems. However, I believe the company has a great chance to change the situation, but it will have to consume some very bitter medicine to do this,” he said on the sidelines of a press conference to celebrate Qatar Airways’ maiden flight to Langkawi.

He added that MAB can learn from Qatar’s experience in company management, customer service and ultimately, how to stand out in the industry.

Akbar said national airlines are an important part of a nation’s economy.

“Try to imagine that you do not own a national airline, but you have big plans to develop the tourism sector.

“Why do you have to draw sympathy from other airlines? Thus, it is extremely important that MAB be sustained and allowed to grow but at the same time, to restrict certain factors that are pulling it down," he added.