Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Almost 200 Malaysia Airlines cabin crew have quit, some scared to fly

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 9:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 10:01pm

Nearly 200 cabin crew have resigned from Malaysia Airlines, with some reportedly citing fears for their safety after the loss of two of its airliners and the lives of all aboard.

The flag carrier, which prior to this year had a good safety record, has been in the spotlight in the past six months following the disappearance of flight MH370 on March 8 and the shooting down of flight MH17 on July 17 over rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

The airline said 186 crew had left in the first seven months of this year, with many blaming family pressure prompted by the tragedies.

"Following the MH17 incident, there was a spike in crew resignations but the number has now decreased to acceptable and routinely expected levels," it said in a statement. "Many cited 'family pressure' as the reason for their resignation due to the MH17 and MH370 tragedies."

Malaysian Airline System Employees Union secretary general Abdul Malek Ariff told the Edge Financial newspaper that some crew "are now afraid to fly".

He also said crew shortages were forcing staff to work up to 12 hours a day. The union represents about 8,000 of the airline's 19,500-strong workforce.

The carrier said it was providing emotional and psychological support to its staff.

Twenty-seven crew members were among the 537 people killed in the two tragedies.

The ailing airline, which was widely criticised for its handling of the MH370 crisis, is in the midst of being taken private by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional as part of an expected major overhaul.

Khazanah is expected this week to announce a series of restructuring measures, including job cuts and the axing of unprofitable international routes.

The carrier has struggled amid intense competition, losing US$1.3 billion over the past three years even before the disasters.