Malaysia Airlines Bhd is offering voluntary unpaid leave to all its 13,000 employees effective from this month. The national carrier said such scheme was also offered to staff of its parent Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) and subsidiaries including MAB Kargo, MAB Engineering, Firefly and MASwings.
Malaysia Airlines’ top management confirmed to the New Straits Times Onlinethat its employees can opt to take up to three months of unpaid leave or five days of unpaid leave per month.
“We confirm that MAG has given its staff the option to voluntarily take five days of unpaid leave per month for at least three months, or between one and three months beginning April 2020,” a Malaysia Airlines spokesperson said when contacted.
He said the move was in line with the airline’s reduced operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To date Malaysia Airlines has cancelled more than 2,000 flights up to April due to travel restrictions imposed by countries within our network,” he added.
On March 9, MAG had announced a 10 percent reduction of its senior management salary including their allowances, effective April. Group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said the cost-cutting was to cope with the weaker demand for air travel due to the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has hampered our growth momentum. We need to get ourselves united to combat this crisis. It has been nine weeks, the cashflow is not only affecting MAG but also the (aviation) industry in totality,” he said in a seven-minute video to MAG employees recently.
“Hence, drastic actions need to be taken by all of us. I will reach out to all of you more in the next following days and weeks, what we need to do. It not only affects airlines, but also hotels, retailers, market place and shopping malls,” he added.
Izham said global airlines were forced to undertake cost-cutting measures to preserve cash flow. This included Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Malindo Air.
Aviation experts said the overall travel suspension from or to China caused by the pandemic had been adversely impacting Asian airlines’ yields and profitability, which were already depressed. Several markets in Asia had been suffering from overcapacity and “irrational” levels of competition, they added.