Malaysia Airlines mulling name change, new flight routes, UK's Telegraph reports

A couple watches the a Malaysia Airlines plane taxi on the runway at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 27, 2014. Malaysia Airlines, reeling under the pressure of two catastrophic aviation tragedies, is mulling a name chang
A couple watches the a Malaysia Airlines plane taxi on the runway at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 27, 2014. Malaysia Airlines, reeling under the pressure of two catastrophic aviation tragedies, is mulling a name change and restructuring of routes to repair its reputation, the Sunday Telegraph has reported. -- PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR/LONDON - Malaysia Airlines, reeling under the pressure of two catastrophic aviation tragedies, is mulling a name change and restructuring of routes to repair its reputation, the Sunday Telegraph has reported.

Besides a new name and new flight routes for the 50,000 passengers it serves daily, rebranding may also include a different investment structure and a restructuring of the airlines' 20,000 staff.

Airline's commercial director Hugh Dunleavy, writing in Sunday Telegraph, said: "Our majority shareholder, the Malaysian government, has already started a process of assessing the future shape of our business and that process will now be speeded up as a result of MH17.

"There are several options on the table but all involve creating an airline fit for purpose in what is a new era for us, and other airlines," he said.

Those options are said to include renaming and rebranding the airline, which carries 50,000 passengers a day and employs 20,000 staff, the Telegraph report said.

The review process is being led by the Malaysian government, and additional private investment for the airline could come from rival aviation groups, it added quoting sources.

The Malaysian flag carrier, majority-owned by the government, has lost 35 per cent of its value after tragedies involving MH370 and MH17 aircraft killed 537 people within six months.

In March, MH370, which was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew, lost touch with air traffic control, an hour after take-off. The wreckage of the plane which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian is yet to be found.

Earlier this month, the Boeing 777 with 298 people on board, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed after being allegedly hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from the rebel-held area near the Ukraine-Russia border.

Passengers are worried about safety, and investors are worried about profitability. Bloomberg News reported that the company needs at least US$629 billion (S$ 780 billion) in the next year to stay afloat.

The share price had already been losing altitude before the two incidents in a four-month period with stock price falling more than 80 percent in five years, RT.com news portal said.

Mr Dunleavy insisted in his article that despite the "tragic loss" of both aircraft, the airline would eventually "emerge stronger".

The Telegraph report, however, said work has begun on a strategic review that will restructure the airline's routes and expand outsourcing to increase profitability.