There is no business unluckier than Malaysia Airlines, with MH370 lost over the southern Indian Ocean in March and MH17 then shot down over Ukraine three months later. With flights almost empty and the company losing an estimated $2.16m (£1.3m) per day, it’s not exactly surprising that it’s downsizing in a big way.
The beleaguered airline is slashing 6,000 jobs, around 30% of its workforce of 20,000, as part of a drastic restructuring that will cost around its new state owners around 6bn Malaysian ringit (£1.15bn).
It is also axing many of its fated long-haul routes to focus on a regional flight network and a new chief executive is being recruited to replace Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. The moves come after the airline reported a loss of 307m Malaysian ringit in the quarter to June 30 yesterday, 75% higher than the previous year, while average weekly bookings have tanked by a third.
Meanwhile, state investment company Khazanah Nasional Berhad is taking full control of Malaysia Airlines, having previously owned 69%, in its bid to return the airline to profitability. Shares were duly suspended from the Malaysian stock exchange ahead of the announcement.
With the hunt still on for MH370’s resting place at the bottom of the ocean and the MH17 crash still under investigation in war-torn eastern Ukraine, the dramatic action looks desperately necessary. Whether it will save Malaysia Airlines remains to be seen.