Air Transport World

Malaysia Airlines.(2008 PHOENIX AWARD)(Malaysia Airline System Bhd.)

"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Samuel Johnson's pithy observation resonates across time and distance as the recent history of our 2008 Phoenix Award winner, Malaysia Airlines, makes clear.


When Idris Jala joined the carrier as MD/CEO on Dec. 1, 2005, having been recruited from Shell Malaysia, he faced a life-or-death crisis. The books showed that at the current rate of loss, which totaled MYR1.3 billion ($344 million) for the abbreviated 2005 nine-month fiscal year, MAS would be insolvent and out of business by April 2006. "We had a burning platform," Jala recalled to this magazine (ATW, 5/07, p. …

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