Malindo seeks to cut 2,200 jobs

While the measures yet to be finalised, the airline is said to be struggling financially even before Covid-19 outbreak


MALINDO Airways Sdn Bhd is planning to cut 2,200 jobs and reduce fleet size to 11 airplanes to keep the company afloat as the air travel industry has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The management at the Malaysian hybrid full-service carrier is seeking to trim the workforce from 3,200 to 1,000 staff and all the affected employees are expected to complete their clearance by Nov 30, 2020, according to an unofficial message circulated within the company sighted by The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Malindo was also said to be reducing its fleet size to five Boeing 737 (B737) aircraft and six ATRs as part of the latest cost-cutting measure.

Malindo, which is owned by Indonesia’s Lion Air Group, currently has 12 B737 airplanes and another 12 ATR turboprops, according to sources. In the note, Malindo’s management was further said to embark on multitasking for every employee who is still under the company’s payroll.

Malindo did not immediately reply to TMR’s request for comment at press time.

A source told TMR that the measures have not been finalised yet.

The latest staff cutback sought by Malindo follows hard on the heels of AirAsia Group Bhd’s confirmation of the retrenchment of 10% of their 24,000 employees recently.

Previously, AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes said the job cuts had to be undertaken given the reality of the aviation sector, which continues to face difficulty in the near future.

In June, Malindo reportedly offered a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) to all permanent and contract staff whose service contracts expire Dec 31 at all levels, functions and locations.

Following the VSS, Malindo also offered its employees a voluntary long-term unpaid (LTU) leave of one year, effective Aug 1, 2020, until July 31, 2021.

Under the LTU scheme, participating employees will receive no salary and allowance while they need to inform the company at least two weeks in advance if they plan to start a part-time job, among others, according to a document sighted by TMR.

Close to 500 employees have signed the VSS and LTU scheme, sources said.

Sources told TMR that the company was already struggling financially before the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We are in the dark from Day 1. Unlike other airlines,there is no town hall or anything at Malindo that would keep us informed with the situation in the company,” a source said.

The source said Malindo still owes some of its employees their allowances from as early as March.

Malindo has about 200 active pilots following the VSS and LTU schemes, where they receive salaries according to days worked in the month.

Pilots on average received about RM2,000 a month out of two to three flights they work in a month, while ground staff at airports both at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Subang Airport only get about RM200.

“It does not make sense for the ground staff to go to work with such payment due to daily travel cost,” a source said.

Malindo did not respond when contacted repeatedly by TMR on this matter previously.

The company is said to only serve two to three flights daily at present.