The Malaysian Insider
In a bid to boost ticket sales, loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is offering travel agents incentives such as Rolex watches and return airfares to Europe and Asia, an Australian daily reported.
The Australian said the struggling airline is giving away five Rolex watches worth US$5,000 (RM16,087) as well as 20 return airfares to Europe and Asia in a deal with travel agency Consolidated Travel Group.
The paper quoted Haydn Long, an executive with Flight Centre, who said that the MAS deal was “not unusual because suppliers often rewarded top-selling agents”.
“I have not heard of Rolex watches before, but it can be a trip overseas on offer. A lot of airlines and hotels do the same thing,” Long told The Australian.
MAS has been under huge financial pressure following the twin disasters of flight MH370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, and flight MH17 which was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17.
A total of 298 people died on board MH17 while the 239 who were on board MH370 remain unaccounted for.
Analysts said earlier this month that MAS’s airfares were expected to drop as the national carrier would need to undercut pricing to get its passenger load factor back to above 70%.
Meanwhile, on August 29, MAS’s main shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd announced that 6,000 jobs or 30% of its workforce would be cut while headquarters and principal operations would be moved to KLIA under a restructuring exercise expected to cost RM6 billion.
In a report by Reuters, the state fund also said the airline will be de-listed from the Kuala Lumpur exchange by the end of 2014.
MAS has posted three straight years of losses in the face of competition from rising budget airlines like AirAsia Bhd.
“We are very grateful for their (travel agents’) unrelenting support of Malaysia Airlines as a premium full-service carrier,” it said in a statement issued to The Australian.
“The prizes are being funded jointly by Consolidated Travel Group and Malaysia Airlines.”
The airline is offering the deal until October 5. According to The Australian, the winning agent is required to sell a minimum of US$20,000 worth of international air tickets. – September 18, 2014.