Malaysia Airlines (MAS) just managed to hold profits steady over the first half of its 1996/7 financial year, but the group promises to emerge "stronger and leaner" in 1997 as restructuring continues.

The group's net profit over the six months to the end of September dipped slightly to RM137 million ($54 million), although signs of the restructuring showed through in a slightly higher operating result. The static profits were in contrast to a surge in revenues which grew by close to 13%.

The parent airline expanded capacity by 24% over the half year, running well ahead of traffic growth. As a result, passenger load factors dropped by 2.6%, dipping below 70%, and cargo factors were down by more than 10%, at 56%.

Chairman Tajudin Ramili pledges that restructuring and further expansion "throughout 1997" will speed the airline's recovery, also highlighting the fleet renewal unveiled earlier this year with the signing of orders for 25 Boeing aircraft. He says that aircraft utilisation was already increased to 9.3h over the first half, up from 8.4h a year ago.

Source: Flight International