'Bankrupt' Malaysia Airlines Cuts 30% of Workers
$1.7B restructuring begins under new CEO
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2015 7:42 AM CDT
The new CEO of Malaysia Airlines said the ailing carrier could break even by 2018 after cutting staff, selling surplus aircraft, and refurbishing its international fleet.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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(Newser) – The promised overhaul at Malaysia Airlines has begun. New CEO Christoph Mueller—dubbed "the Terminator"—says 6,000 of 20,000 jobs at the "bleeding" airline will be slashed. "We are technically bankrupt," says Mueller, who developed a reputation for laying off workers during restructuring at Ireland's Aer Lingus, Belgium's Sabena, and Germany's Lufthansa airlines, per the BBC. "The decline of performance started long before the tragic events of 2014." Before MH370 disappeared and MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, the airline suffered from what AFP calls "poor management, unwise business decisions, government meddling, and unfavorable service and supplier contracts stemming from Malaysia's crony capitalism."

Though 14,000 workers were offered jobs, Mueller says some may be fielding offers from competitors. Noting the Malaysia Airlines brand has been blemished in some markets, Mueller, hired last month by state investor Khazanah, adds the airline will rebrand in September, but he remains vague on the details. The airline may also reduce the frequency of flights or the size of aircraft on long-haul routes to Europe to focus more on regional flights, though a flagship route to London will be unaltered. The hope is that the airline can "stop the bleeding" in 2015, per today's announcement, and see growth by 2017. Sky News reports the yearlong restructuring plan will cost $1.7 billion.