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Aviation

Malaysia Airlines to cut 30 percent of its workforce

Malaysia's flag carrier is to cut 30 percent of its workforce as part of a near $2-billion restructuring program. The airline, which was involved in two aircraft disasters this year, has been in the red for some time.

State investment company Khazanah Nasional, which owns 69 percent of Malaysia Airlines and intends to take full ownership, said on Friday that the two crashes this year of flights MH370 and MH17 as well as ongoing financial woes "created a perfect storm for the restructuring to take place," according to Managing Director Azman Mokhtar. "We need to have a fresh start."

The revamp and new investment in the carrier will cost about 6 billion Malaysian ringgit ($1.9 billion, 1.4 billion euros). Around 6,000 people will lose their jobs, reducing the airline's staff to 14,000.

The airline also said would also discontinue unprofitable routes and operate fewer flights. It will be delisted from the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange by the end of this year. Majority owner Khazanah wants to return the carrier to profitability within the next three years, and relist it in the next three to five years.

Ahmad Jauhari Yahya will stay on as chief executive until July next year, but the search for a new CEO has begun.

The announcement comes a day after Malaysia Airlines posted its sixth quarterly loss in a row, citing high fuel costs, stiff competition and the negative effects on the brand of the disappearance of flight MH370 this March and the crash of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in July.

ng/tj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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