Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines Peter Bellew said Wednesday that Chinese travel to the South-East Asian country is making a massive comeback.
Noteworthy, this recovery is taking place after three years when one of its planes, namely flight MH370, disappeared with 239 mostly Chinese passengers onboard.
Speaking at the ongoing 24th Arabian Travel Market tourism fair, Bellew said "We will launch 11 new destinations in China this year, the largest expansion in Malaysia Airlines' history."
He added "Around 30 percent of Malay people speak Mandarin, and Chinese food is available at almost every corner. As an Irish national, I would say in European terms, Malaysia represents the Malaga or Balearic islands of South-East Asia for the Chinese."
Bellew also said that business conditions have "massively improved" for the carrier.
"In March a year ago, our employees were worried if they could keep their jobs. In December last year the picture completely changed due to overtime because the workload significantly increased."
The CEO explained that Malaysia Airlines also benefits from its codeshare partnerships with Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways in the United Arab Emirates as both carriers have recently increased the number of destinations to China.
"These partnerships are important for affluent, global Chinese travelers. We can cooperate with everybody and this is our strength," said Bellew.
He added that he sees increased potential for global Chinese outbound tourism because "while several Chinese citizens still have no travel passports, the younger generation, however, is continuously applying for travel documents."
On March 9 2014, scheduled international Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH370, took off from Kuala Lumpur heading to Beijing and disappeared on the way with 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard, of which 152 passengers were Chinese nationals.
The consequent slump in demand almost bankrupted the airline.