Malaysia Airlines is preparing for a total overhaul as it transforms itself into a new company. A rebranding is set to be unveiled next week and changes are planned to the carrier’s fleet and network.
The airline’s announcement earlier this week that an administrator had been appointed was quickly followed by its new chief executive, Christoph Mueller, assuring customers that MAS operations would continue as normal during the transition.
Mueller, previously with Irish national carrier Aer Lingus, is chief executive of Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS) and chief executive-designate of the new airline, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB).
Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign fund and the sole shareholder of MAS, announced that it had appointed Dato’ Mohammad Faiz Azmi as administrator for MAS, effective from Monday this week .
The administrator will help transfer selected assets and liabilities from MAS to the new company by 1 September 2015. MAS will continue to operate throughout the period up to and including 31 August 2015, after which MAB will operate the business of the airline from 1 September 2015 onwards, an official statement said.
The transition from MAS to MAB is a key component of the 12-point MAS Recovery Plan announced on 29 August 2014. It aims to restructure the national carrier to set it on a path towards sustainable profitability. The plan also includes conditional investment funding by Khazanah of up to MYR 6 billion (about AUD 2.1 billion), though not all at once.
In an issued statement, Mueller said: “I assure you our operations are very much business as usual. All MAS flights, schedules, and reservations continue to operate as normal. We remain committed to serving you with our world-class Malaysian Hospitality, and look forward to welcoming you on board Malaysia Airlines.
“This appointment does not affect our daily operations or existing reservations. You can continue to make reservations in full confidence that our flights and schedules are operating as normal, that tickets sold will be honoured, and that our Enrich frequent flyer program continues with Miles and status preserved”.
Mueller told Reuters news agency this week: “It’s not a continuation of the old company in a new disguise, everything is new.”
MAS plans to lay off about a third of its 20,000-strong workforce and to reduce overall capacity this year. The carrier has been trying to sell two of its A380s, Mueller confirmed, but would keep all its current types of aircraft including A330s, B777-200s and B737-800s.
Written by Peter Needham