Malaysia Airlines names Irishman as chief executive

Peter Bellew is formerly of Ryanair and Kerry Airport

Malaysia Airlines was previously headed by former Aer Lingus chief Christoph Mueller. Photograph: iStock

Malaysia Airlines has promoted its Irish chief operating officer Peter Bellew to head the state-owned carrier after its former chief executive, Christoph Mueller, resigned unexpectedly. Mr Mueller, who previously headed up Aer Lingus, will has completed close to half ofhis original three-year term.

The appointment takes effect July 1st, the airline said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

Khazanah Nasional, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, owns the carrier. Malaysia Air is turning to its third chief executive in two years following two fatal air crashes in 2014 that led demand to sink at the already unprofitable carrier.


Khazanah took the airline private in 2014 and Mr Mueller was tasked the following year with leading a 6 billion-ringgit (€1.4 billion) plan including 6,000 job losses and cuts to long-haul destinations to restore the carrier’s profitability.


Mr Bellew’s appointment “will ensure continuity in the execution of the turnaround plan and further progress of the overall restructuring effort,” Malaysia Air said in the statement.

Mr Bellew joined Malaysia Air in September from Ryanair, where he ended his stint as director of flight operations at the Dublin-based carrier after various roles since 2006. He previously founded an online travel agency in Ireland and was managing director at Kerry Airport.