Hugh Dunleavy, commercial director of Malaysia Airlines, wrote an editorial in The Telegraph to defend the airline's flight path for MH17 and ponder the future of the company. Twice this year, Malaysia Airlines flights have crashed. MH17 was struck down over Ukraine, and earlier this year, MH370 was lost between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
Now, the airline is in jeopardy. Cancellations are up to 20 % in some regions, and the company seems to be running out of cash.
In his editorial, Dunleavy says that was happened to MH17 could have happened to any airline and defers responsibility for flight paths away from the industry:
"For too long, airlines have been shouldering the responsibility for making decisions about what constitutes a safe flight path, over areas in political turmoil around the world.
"We are not intelligence agencies, but airlines, charged with carrying passengers in comfort between destinations.
"Against the backdrop of areas with increasingly volatile political situations, such as Ukraine and Gaza, we as an industry must act now to create a system of approval that guarantees safe air passage for all commercial airlines."
Dunleavy admits that the Malaysian government, which owns a majority stake in the company, was already in "a process of assessing the future shape of our business" before the more recent MH17 loss. PR Daily wonders whether a name change and repositioning of the brand would help save the airline.
- If you had a scheduled flight on Malaysia Airlines, would you cancel it? Discuss your rationale.
- What do you think would help the struggling airline at this point?
- When PR Daily proposes a name change and a "radical brand overhaul," what do you think they mean? What would this look like? What other companies have done something similar?