Despite the disasters of MH370 and MH17 and the 537 people killed in them, Australia needs competitive non-stop flights to Malaysia for a whole range of very good reasons.
But in his first official interview Christoph Mueller, the highly credentialed airline professional chosen to rebuild Malaysia Airline, has confirmed every depressing rumor about the disposal of much of its fleet, and sacking of many of its people, and the large scale planned demolition of much of its once significant global reach.
Going are the flagship A380s, much of the supporting 777s, all of the cargo operations, and it seems all of the hard won brand value that made Malaysia Airlines synonymous with a major expanding SE Asia economy.
Malaysia Airlines, under a new branding exercise in which it seems as yet uncertain what name will appear on the sides of the remaining jets, will become predominantly regional.
Which raises the questions about the future of air links between Australia and Malaysia. What if anything will they be?
Given the damage the other Malaysia run airline franchises of AirAsia and AirAsia X have done to themselves in this country, this is an important and needless to say , unanswerable question for Qantas and maybe even Virgin Australia to contemplate until they learn more from Kuala Lumpur.
But without good, fast, and competitive air links, Malaysian and Australian business prospects will suffer, and without such cross border mobility, the important exchange of ideas and support between those who seek more progressive social outcomes in both countries will be inevitably reduced.
Physical mobility is as important as the printed or electronic word in advancing democracy, as well as trade and prosperity.
It seems inevitable reading the stories about the restructure of what is a destroyed Malaysia Airlines today that mobility by air for Malaysia may well be provided by external carriers especially on the longer haul routes. Changing planes in Singapore for access to Kuala Lumpur, where the main airport is a long way from the city (although not some of the more interesting technology centres) isn’t all that helpful.
Malaysia is making itself a business school text book study when it comes to the power of national brands in nourishing national identity and success. In that respect, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, all have crucial, albeit in some cases, diminishing identification with their home states. Here is a case of what happens when such a nationally important icon is ruined.
The loss of the Malaysia Airlines that was known and respected prior to MH370 and MH17 seems set to damage the whole country badly, even though the terrible loss to the next of kin of the dead cuts the deepest in these times.
Those who know the truth about MH370 and are across the core factors that resulted in MH17 being blown from the skies over Ukraine have roles to play for better or worse, in revealing or suppressing what they know. Only the whole truth of these matters is acceptable if the true interests of humanity are to be served.