KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia Airlines will add 11 new routes and embark on a hiring spree by year-end amid a boost in demand from international customers, chief executive Peter Bellew said on Wednesday (May 3).
The Malaysian national carrier is in the midst of a turnaround after suffering two tragedies in 2014: when Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing mysteriously disappeared, and Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down in eastern Ukraine.
Mr Bellew said the number of routes being introduced now was the most in a single year in the airline's history, and that the company was evaluating at least 26 more routes that could be introduced by 2018.
The airline, he said, was seeing an increase in customers in Asia, particularly from China, India and Australia, despite a fall in the number of fliers to Europe and the United States.
Malaysia Airlines was looking to hire more staff towards the end of this year and add several wide-body aircraft to its fleet. However, he did not discuss on how many jobs would be introduced.
The company was de-listed from the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 2014, and had removed around 6,000 jobs, at least a third of its workforce, at the peak of the airline's crisis in 2015. "Business is very good at the moment... business on the international front is extremely strong," he told reporters in Putrajaya, Malaysia's administrative capital.
"We need more pilots, more crew, engineers and everything."
Last month, Mr Bellew told Reuters the airline was looking to lease between six and eight Airbus A330s or Boeing 777s for use from 2018 and another seven to nine aircraft from 2019.
The company aims at a return to profitability by 2018, and a stock market listing again in March the following year.