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Christoph Mueller: “Malaysia Airlines Is Technically Bankrupt”

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Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller has announced the airline is “technically bankrupt”.

Christoph Mueller also announced a restructuring program and plans to cut about 6,000 jobs.

The announcement follows the twin air disasters which forced Malaysia Airlines nationalization in 2014.


Malaysia Airlines said it had “offered jobs” to 14,000 of its 20,000 workforce.

The move was expected and follows the appointment of new CEO, Christoph Mueller, in May.

Christoph Mueller told a news conference in Sepang, Malaysia: “We are technically bankrupt.”

“The decline of performance started long before the tragic events of 2014.”

Malaysia Airlines is operating as normal and no flights are currently affected.Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller

In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew aboard. The plane is still missing.

Four months later, flight MH17 was shot down by a suspected ground-to-air missile while in Ukrainian airspace, with the loss of 298 passengers and crew.

The two disasters proved to be the final straw for the already struggling business, which had reported losses for several years as a result of strong regional competition.

Christoph Mueller was making his first public appearance as chief executive since being hired by the carrier’s owner, Malaysian state fund Khazanah, to lead the restructuring.

He has previously had senior roles at Ireland’s Aer Lingus, Belgium’s Sabena and Germany’s Lufthansa airlines. Famed for slashing jobs at the airlines, Christoph Mueller has earned the nickname “the Terminator”.

Malaysia Airlines had previously disclosed plans to cut 6,000 jobs, shrinking its workforce to 14,000.

Christoph Mueller said the airline could not expect that all of the job offers it had made to existing staff would be accepted. He said this was because the company expected staff to have received offers from rival carriers.

“We will embark on a second round in two weeks’ time and that will allow others to accept our offers and that may change the numbers,” he added.

Malaysia Airlines plans to announce a rebranding on September 1st.

Christoph Mueller would not be drawn on whether this would mean a change to the airline name, but said “all constellations were open”.

He admitted that in certain markets Malaysia Airlines was a tarnished brand, but he would not say whether the rebrand would involve a change in name, logo or other alterations.

He also would not be drawn on whether the airline would withdraw from some costly long-haul flights to Europe.

In more general terms, Christoph Mueller said it was possible the airline might reduce the frequency of flights on certain routes, or reduce the size of aircraft on those routes.

The carrier would look at joint ventures before closing routes, Christoph Mueller said, and would be having conversations with potential partners in the coming weeks.

In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said its immediate priority was to “stop the bleeding” in 2015, then to stabilize in 2016 and start growing again by 2017.