More than 200 resignations since passenger jet tragedies, Malaysia Airlines confirms, as cabin crew cite ‘family pressure’ to quit
A spokesman for the airline would not comment on rumoured crew shortages, but said the organisation’s resignation rate was “way below the industry norm” Photo: Alamy
Almost 200 cabin crew resigned from Malaysia Airlines in the year to July, many as a result of the MH17 and MH370 tragedies, Malaysia Airlines has confirmed, as rumours swirl about the airline’s future.
“Following the MH17 incident, there was a spike in crew resignations but the number has now decreased to acceptable and routinely expected levels,” Malaysia Airlines said in a statement to the Telegraph.
“Many cited ‘family pressure’ as the reason for their resignation due to the MH17 and MH370 tragedies,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the airline would not comment on rumoured crew shortages, but said the organisation’s resignation rate was “way below the industry norm”, and pointed to the company’s support for staff through counselling and special prayer sessions, as well as a talk held last week titled ‘Exclusive Discourse – MH370 and MH17 from the perspective of Islam’.
“Some are afraid to fly. There is nothing we can do about this. They have developed some kind of fear and we hope that over time, they will be back to normal.” Malaysia Airline System Employees Union secretary-general Abdul Malek told local media.
There was no comment from Malaysia Airlines on local reports that the airline’s parent company this week signed off on a comprehensive restructure plan that could see up to 6000 jobs go from the loss-making airline.
Asia-Pacific aviation consultant Jeremy William, who edits the aviation blog Carry-On.com.au, said a restructure was highly likely. Even before this year’s twin tragedies Malaysia Airlines was experiencing common aviation industry pressures, and was particularly vulnerable to competition from low-cost carriers, he said.
“The situation is now that they have to change in order to survive. They had cut fares after MH370, and they’ve put up commissions to Australian travel agents,” Mr William said.
The company has told Australian travel agents it will pay them a commission of 11 per cent for all tickets issued in Australia until September 15 – almost double the previous 6 per cent commission, Mr William said.
“It’s difficult to work out how much demand has been affected, but if staff can see passenger demand falling away there’s probably a significant element of uncertainty around whether their jobs are secure.”
Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund which owns Malaysia Airlines, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.