Not only the Asian sky is seen as a lucrative growing market for airlines industry, the battle for the market, at least in South East Asia, are headed by three accountants. Tengku Dato' Azmil Raja Abdul Aziz, who was recently appointed as the Managing Director and CEO of Malaysian Airlines, joins Dato' Tony Fernandes of AirAsia and Emirshah Satar of Garuda as CEOs of three major players in the airlines business in the part of the world.
Although competing in the same market, the three airlines are operating in different context and pursuing different strategic goals.
Malaysia Airlines, being the national airline for Malaysia and controlled by the Malaysia government, has to live with such expectation while at the same time is transforming itself into a five star airline with lost cost structure. It has managed to re-structure its obligations in providing rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak and now serves the rural market as a service provider to the government.
AirAsia on the other hand is positioning itself to be the lowest cost airline in the market it serves. While based in Malaysia, AirAsia has been operating through its associated companies in Indonesia and Thailand, thus providing it with larger market base in the low cost market segment.
Garuda is in the turnaround pathway after suffering financial difficulties and faced with ban by the European Union. It has managed to get the ban lifted and with a large domestic market, it is moving fast to be a force to be reckon with in the near future.
It would be interesting to observe how the three trained accountants perform in the years to come. The airlines industry has been plagued with challenges for raising fuel prices, global economic crisis, epidemics. The open air policy adopted by Asean has also heightened competition, putting pressure of price and forcing airlines to be extra efficient.
Good luck to the three CEOs!