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Malaysia to Unveil New Brand Next Week, Lay Off Thousands

Malaysia Airlines

Recovery plan for embattled Malaysian flag carrier include layoffs, divesting of aircraft and new branding.

A complete overhaul for Malaysian Airlines is in the works, with becoming a leaner international air carrier as the planned result. USA Today reports the airline has outlined a recovery strategy which will include divesting aircraft and reducing their workforce by as many as 8,000 employees.

The plan, discussed in a Reuters interview with Malaysia Airlines’ new chief executive Christoph Mueller, is set to distance the company from their recent history. The first point includes a re-brand that will be unveiled in the first week of June.

“I’m hired to run the new company entirely on commercial terms and there’s very little margin for error,” Mueller told Reuters. “It’s not a continuation of the old company in a new disguise, everything is new.”

The new re-branding is a small step which could lead to a completely new Malaysian Airlines. Quoting sources inside the Malaysian flag carrier, both Business Traveller and Reuters report the airline is also contemplating changing their name and corporate iconography.

In addition to the visual changes, the revitalized Malaysian Airlines will operate as a smaller airline. USA Today reports the carrier is trying to sell two of their Airbus A380s, while maintaining some wide-body aircraft for international routes. Despite the potential sale of the two aircraft, Business Traveler reports the airline will continue to maintain A380 service between London and Kuala Lumpur.

Aircraft is not the only downsize the carrier intends to make. Malaysia’s The Star reports the airline will officially lay off between 6,000 and 8,000 employees. The remaining employees will be offered renegotiated positions in the new airline. In addition, The Star reports every service contract for the airline will be renegotiated as well. The anticipated number of layoffs meet projections made at the end of 2014.

Despite the sweeping changes, Mueller reassured that flyers would not be affected by the planned reorganization. “I assure you our operations are very much business as usual,” Mueller said in a statement to The Star. “All [Malaysian Airlines] flights, schedules and reservations continue to operate as normal.”

The reorganization comes as the carrier works to distance themselves from multiple air tragedies in 2014. Last March, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, with the investigation into the aircraft’s whereabouts continuing. In July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down while flying over Ukraine, killing all aboard the flight.

[Photo: iStock]

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