During my trip to Sarawak, Malaysia this week, we got to hear a presentation from a representative of Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier of this sprawling Southeast Asian country.

Malaysia Airlines has been in the news recently after a price war that reduced intra-country fares to a ridiculous $0 priced fares….unsustainable in any economy, but suicidal with today’s fuel prices. The only thing the competition was charging for was the fuel surcharge. Now Malaysia Airlines is offering the same in their ads, ‘$0 fares’ to various domestic destinations.

The rep alluded to the price war and then spoke about what a relief it was that they had the government backing them up. “With fuel prices the way they are, we’re glad that they’ve got our backs,” he said. He also compared Malaysia to their arch rival, the much heralded Singapore Airlines, who still turn a profit these days.

But think about it, he said: This airline only flies long-haul routes. They don’t offer any of the domestic flights that Malaysia Airlines has to offer. They stick to what makes big bucks: long-haul flights from Kuwait, London, the US or other large gateways with plenty of business class passengers shelling out big bucks.

He outlined the goal for the airline: To be a five-star, value carrier. That means, keep on winning awards for cabin service and amenities, yet make money so that they can grow their routes to serve more than the 100 different cities on today’s schedule.

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