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Malaysia Airlines to slash 6,000 jobs in survival bid


Khazanah Nasional. Photo: Bloomberg file

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airlines will slash 6,000 jobs, trim its route network, and replace its CEO under plans announced on Friday to stave off bankruptcy after two air tragedies plunged the already troubled carrier deeper into crisis.

State investment fund Khazanah Nasional, which controls the failing flag carrier, said it would pump six billion ringgit ($1.9 billion) into the airline, hoping the changes will return the company to profitability within three years.

Khazanah's Managing Director Azman Mokhtar said, however, there were no plans to change the carrier's name — now deeply tarnished by its association with the MH370 and MH17 tragedies, which have pummelled bookings.

"The combination of measures announced today will enable our national airline to be revived," Azman said.

Aviation analysts, however, said it was far too early to predict success, citing a lack of details in the plans, intense industry competition, and the airline's sullied image.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has bled money for years, with analysts blaming poor management and a failure to keep up with industry competition. But the outflow has become a torrent due to this year's disasters.

MH370 mysteriously vanished on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard. MH17 went down July 18 — believed hit by a surface-to-air missile — in rebellion-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on the plane. 

MAS previously had a solid safety record.

Smaller staff, regional focus
The airline released a statement saying its flights would operate as normal during the restructuring.

Azman said the company will shed about 6,000 — or 30 per cent — of the airline's nearly 20,000 employees.

Ismail Nasaruddin, head of Malaysia's flight attendants union, said the union was awaiting details on how the layoffs would be carried out.

A new CEO would be chosen by end-2014, though current under-fire boss Ahmad Jauhari Yahya would stay in charge until July 2015 to ensure a smooth transition.

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