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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Whither Malaysia Airlines' restructuring plan?

As part of the rationalisation exercise carried out by its parent company Khazanah, MAB has since cut 6,000 jobs, slashed salaries and trimmed its capacity by 30 per cent. — Reuters pic© Provided by The Malay Mail Online As part of the rationalisation exercise carried out by its parent company Khazanah, MAB has since cut 6,000 jobs, slashed salaries and trimmed its capacity by 30 per cent. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 ― In efforts to stop a financial haermorrhage, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) appears to be facing an uphill fight to maintain the morale of its remaining staff after downsizing its workforce through an ongoing rationalisation exercise.Malay Mail Online understands a significant number of MAB's staff are unhappy over several management decisions including the termination of flight services to Paris and Amsterdam from January 27 next year, and a lack of financial incentives.
It is also understood that many pilots who operate the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft which is being used for flight services to the two cities have already opted for either voluntary secondment or are quitting MAB to join other airlines.
Better to go some other place where we are appreciated
"MAS is well known in the aviation world because of our outstanding record. Other airlines have come and scooped us up, and they offer us much better pay and perks," a pilot formerly with the national carrier told Malay Mail Online on condition of anonymity.
"Nobody wanted to leave because we love MAS, but it seems like they don't love us, so might as well go some other place where others appreciate us," he added, using the airline’s old acronym.
The pilot, who left recently for an international airline, also questioned MAB's decision to trim  routes deemed "unprofitable", saying most of those flights were always full.
"There is some confusion there," he said of the decision to cull the routes.
Another pilot, who is still with MAB, said that staff from other fleets besides the Boeing 777s are also leaving the airline due to monetary issues.
"No expansion therefore no promotion in the nearest time. No annual increment in salary
"Those that are not leaving are sceptics who are too afraid to become expatriates in another country," he said.
Back in July, The Star daily quoted the the-MAS head of flight operations, Capt Kamarudin Kamilin as saying that foreign airlines were keen to hire the company’s experienced pilots and that they were courted even before news of the restructuring exercise broke.
Too soon to state how many are leaving
Contacted for comment, the national carrier declined to state how many pilots of employees would be affected by the termination of flight services to Paris and Amsterdam.
It also said it was premature to disclose the number of pilots or airline who have opted to leave MAB for other airlines.
"Still premature to share the numbers as this is ongoing," MAB said in a statement to Malay Mail Online yesterday.
On Monday, MAB denied a news report that 250 of its pilots would be forced to leave the national carrier once it ends its Paris and Amsterdam routes next month.
In a statement carried by several news organisations, it said that while the rationalisation exercise would have an impact on its pilots‎, they have already been offered alternatives which did not include sacking.
“Malaysia Airlines’ network rationalisation exercise, which saw a reduction in capacity and suspension of flights to selected destinations, will have an impact on pilot requirements. ‎
"The pilots will have a choice of career options, including voluntary secondment to other airlines in Asia or the Middle East, voluntary no-pay long-term leave to pursue other careers or to remain at Malaysia Airlines and await possible long-term vacancies on other aircraft types," the earlier statement said.
It is understood that MAB ended its flights to the two destinations after signing a deal with Dubai-based Emirates back on December 2.
Where does Malaysia Airlines want to go?
"The bottom line right now is that Malaysia Airlines, the new company has no direction, one party in the company wants to save costs, another wants to save manpower, another wants to restructure.
"It’s like you are sick with a stomachache and you want to see a doctor but you end up seeing an ENT specialist," a former official of the now defunct Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union (Maseu) told Malay Mail Online.
The former MAS employee also questioned MAB for cancelling flight routes which have been "highly profitable" in the past, claiming that many employees are unhappy with the recent decisions by made by the top management of the company.
"During Tan Sri Aziz Abdul Rahman's time the Amsterdam, Paris route was introduced and this was highly profitable, so why shut this down now?" he said, referring to the national carrier's former chief executive officer.
The national carrier was delisted in August after sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad offered to buy out minority shareholders for a total of RM1.38 billion to restructure MAS.
As part of the rationalisation exercise carried out by its parent company Khazanah, MAB has since cut 6,000 jobs, slashed salaries and trimmed its capacity by 30 per cent.
Khazanah has since pledged to invest RM6 billion in the restructuring plan to make MAB profitable again.

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