Thousands of Malaysia Airlines employees have received letters of termination, but most will be asked to rejoin the embattled carrier after a rebranding. The firm wants to become profitable again after a harrowing year.
Malaysia Airlines on Monday laid out plans for an across-the-board "hard reset" during which the company said it would lay off 20,000 workers but ask 14,000 of them to return to a new, restructured airline that is being set up.
The carrier plans to reinvent itself by metamorphosing into a new brand as of September 1 as it seeks to repair the damage to the airline's image suffered after two disastrous plane crashes in 2014.
New Chief Executive Christoph Müller said the airline hoped to "stop the bleeding" in 2015, stabilize next year and start growing again by 2017. At a press conference on Monday, he said the airline was "technically bankrupt" but could re-emerge by cutting staff, selling surplus aircraft and modernizing its fleet.
Turning over a new leaf
In a first move, the carrier sent termination letters to its 20,000 employees as the airline changes its brand, with most of them to be rehired. However, some 6,000 would not be taken back on in a bid to save costs, the airline announced.Besides job cuts, the carrier is widely expected to scale back unprofitable long-haul routes, including ones to Europe, and focus instead on regional traffic as it regroups.
CEO Müller, a German national, had previously supervised turnarounds at Ireland's Aer Lingus and Belgium's Sabena that earned him the nickname "the terminator" for his job-slashing initiatives there.
hg/cjc (AFP, dpa)