MAS to customers: It is business as usual

MAS to customers: It is business as usual

PETALING JAYA - Christoph Mueller, the chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines, has assured customers that operations will continue even with the appointment of an administrator.

"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 MAS,'' Mueller said in a statement yesterday.

The statement came after MAS parent Khazanah Nasional Bhd appointed Pricewaterhouse Coopers executive chairman Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi as the administrator to oversee the restructuring of now de-listed MAS into a new company, MAS Bhd.

Azmi would oversee the transfer of the assets and liabilities of MAS to MAS Bhd, which would start operations on Sept 1.

Mueller said the appointment would not affect MAS' daily operations and flight 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 programme continues with Miles and the status preserved.''

In a related development Mueller told Reuters that the new company would be like a "start-up" and there was little margin for error.

"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," said Mueller, who helped turn around carriers such as Aer Lingus, Belgium's Sabena, and Germany's Lufthansa .

Mueller confirmed that the carrier has been trying to sell two of its A380s and will likely have fewer planes overall, but said that the new company will keep all of its current types of aircraft including the Airbus A330s, Boeing 777-200s and 737-800s.

The airline's costs are 20 per cent above its rivals and Mueller said it will take three years to close that gap and return to profitability.

It is learnt that Mueller is scheduled to meet with union leaders today.

It will be his second meeting with the union leaders since he took office early this month.

He has been engaging with the unions and also the staff since coming on board.

Earlier this month, he sent a three-page e-mail to employees, telling them the condition of the airline they were working for and that he needed their support to move forward.

The sources said that among other things, today's meeting with the unions would centre on the appointment of the administrator.

Yesterday, The Star reported the anxiety of MAS employees as they waited to receive their termination letters.

The services of all 20,000 employees will be terminated but two-thirds of them will be rehired by the new airline. Between 6,000 and 8,000 are expected to be laid off in stages.

However, some of those terminated may be given short-term contracts to ease the transition to the new airline.

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