Vocal MAS union speaks out against latest aircraft deal

nufam_mas_mab_600PETALING JAYA: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) fears that Malaysia Airlines’ plan to purchase additional passenger aircraft will lead to more financial problems as the company may not be able to keep up with its overhead expenses.

“Buying new planes does not guarantee the airline will succeed if their financial overheads are deemed unmanageable,” its secretary-general Mohd Akram said in a statement today.

“More planes mean new routes and more workers … This is like going back to square one where MAS was claimed to be over-bloated with workers. The airline had to lay off 6,000 workers two years ago.

“It’s just less than three years after this retrenchment and here they go again over-spending to purchase more planes,” he said, adding that thousands of employees had suffered due to the company’s financial problems and alleged mismanagement.

He said Malaysia Airlines’ workers were complaining about a shortage of manpower although there had been no increment in their salaries or allowances over the last three years and the airline was now going on a “shopping spree” to buy new planes.

He urged Prime Minister Najib Razak to meet the staff themselves instead of getting just one side of the story. “The government needs to hear out the problems of the workers too and not just hastily do what they think is good,” he said.

He also questioned if Malaysia Airlines was already making profits after the government injected RM6 billion into the company.

On Sept 12, Najib told US president Donald Trump during their meeting at the White House that Malaysia Airlines would purchase 25 Boeing 737 jets and eight of the Seattle-based firm’s 787 Dreamliners, with another 25 737s slated for purchase in the near future.

Najib said the deal would be worth more than US$10 billion (RM41.9 billion) in five years.

Akram however, asked where the planes would fly to as the union had not heard of any new destinations or routes for the airline.

He added there were also other factors and the cost of maintenance of the new planes which would be high.

“Although it is good to see Malaysia Airlines pick up again, but as we say it’s still too soon to count the eggs in the basket,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew was quoted by Bloomberg today as saying that the airline remained keen on purchasing Airbus’ upgraded A330neo wide-body jets.

Bellew had said in March that he was looking at buying 25 to 30 A330s or 787s for delivery between 2019 and 2023.