MAS set to make profits by end-2014, turnaround plan gaining momentum and support

 MAS set to make profits by end-2014, turnaround plan gaining momentum and support

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is on track to become profitable by end-2014, as its turnaround plan gains traction and receives the backing of its unions, according to group chief executive officer (CEO) Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

"It is gaining momentum and going in the right direction. We are generating positive cashflow now. We want to build sustainable profits, hopefully, by the end of 2014. There is still a lot to do," he said at an update briefing on its business plan introduced in late-2011.

He said it now had a cash balance of RM5.5bil, following a series of corporate exercises and net gearing ratio being reduced to 1.3 times.

Ahmad Jauhari also disclosed that the carrier's unions were "fully behind its turnaround plan", confirming a StarBiz report on Wednesday. StarBiz had reported that Ahmad Jauhari had finally secured the buy-in of its powerful unions in his efforts to turn around the carrier.

MAS has eight workers' and executive unions. At present, it has a workforce of 20,000. Seven union leaders, including from Sabah and Sarawak, were present at the briefing yesterday, with the exception of the Malaysia Airlines Employees Union (Maseu).

"We're in discussion with them (Maseu). We believe in solving problems internally. Like in any company, there are differences and we're in communication with them," Ahmad Jauhari revealed.

In the second quarter ended June 30, 2013, MAS registered an operating profit of RM8mil from an operating loss of RM102mil a year ago.

"Overall, we are pleased with the second quarter because the first half of the year is usually challenging, and traditionally, we perform better in the second half of the year," he said.

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