KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAS) recruitment offerings are deemed positive thanks to the possibility of new routes and new plane.
Maybank Investment Bank aviation analyst Mohshin Aziz said the new recruitment was in line with the national carrier’s objective to expand its operation and become profitable again.
“There will be some people who will resign or retire on yearly basis. Therefore, airline would need to recruit,” he told NST Business today.
He added it was a norm for airline or any companies to hire more workforce to improve their operation.
Another aviation expert who declined to be identified said MAS had been cutting a lot of domestic flights last year due to competitive price wars with budget airlines.
“MAS would require new recruitments for new routes and it might want to try more greenfield areas, possibly international routes,” he said.
MAS is currently recruiting skilled-employees such as analysts, captains, cabin crew, fleet managers and airline security, according to its website.
“MAS recently began a recruitment drive for pilots and cabin crew to fill up current operational needs,” the airline said in a written reply.
Since 2016, the airline has expanded its network by adding several destinations and increasing frequency, as well as up expanding its widebody operations.
“We continue to fly up to 40,000 passengers daily, as a result of significant increase in number of flights,” it said.
MAS chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said the airline is expected to be profitable by the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, given that this year’s market outlook remains challenging.
“This year’s market outlook is quite tough. We will monitor our progress and it is gaining its traction now. Our internal target is to be profitable this year,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a Training Partnership Agreement between Malaysia Airlines Academy Bhd and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Petaling Jaya, today.
Captain Izham said the airline’s team knew its aspiration and would keep working together this year but the profitability would realistically be achievable by Q1 of 2019.
He added the recruitment process would rebalance its overall attrition rate of 16 per cent per year.
“We will prioritise those 6,000 applicants who had previously left us,” he said.
He pointed out MAS would be keen to re-employ those with relevant skills who have left before September 2015.
“We welcome their return but their applications processes remain the same as others,” he added.
He reiterated the group would keep headcounts at 14,000 of which, 12,500 for MAS.
“Out of the 6,000 staff who had left us in 2015, 95 per cent have moved on to new careers, while the remaining five per cent are still undergoing training at our Corporate Development Centre,” he said.
The national airline had commenced its inaugural A350-900 service from Kuala Lumpur to London on January 15, this year.
MAS said its six units of the A350-900 are being leased from Los Angeles based aircraft leaser Air Lease Corp under a 12-year programme.
MAS said it would resume its direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Brisbane from June 6 with an initial four-time weekly service.
It will also take delivery of six wide-body Airbus A330-200s this year to improve its customer experience generate better topline.
He added that the lease of the six A330-200s, to replace the six B737s that were returned to lessors, will enable MAS to fly more passengers.
MAS sole owner, Khazanah Nasional Bhd anticipated the airline’s turnaround plan was behind schedule due to fuel prices and currencies volatility.
Managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar expects MAS to achieve a breakeven in the second half this year or first half of 2019, and is on track to list MAS in 2019.
Mohshin said Asian is still an important for aviation sector to grow, citing that more than half of the world’s population is in the region.
“China and India are the big portions. Asean region has more than 600 million people. These three regions are still at an early stage of growth and there is still a lot of growth.
“More people started to fly and their wealth are developing. Hence, they fly more often. This is where the growth is,” he said.
He added other regions like Europe and American are matured markets, nothing that the population was not really growing.
“The growth in those regions is expected to be modest. Hence, the new growth for the future is definitely in Asia.
“We are neutral on the aviation sector. We think the growth rate is going to moderate at historical level between six per cent and seven per cent annually in Malaysia,” he said.
However, he said the current oil prices will be a pressure for airlines as it would dent their earnings.