1. ITV Report

Thousands of jobs under threat as customers abandon Malaysia Airlines

Thousands of workers at beleaguered Malaysia Airlines are facing the axe as customers, scared off by two major tragedies this year, take their business elsewhere.

The wall of remembrance created by families of those lost on flight MH370 Credit: Reuters

Up to a quarter of the firm's 19,500 members of staff are in line to be made redundant, while route cuts and a change of leadership are also on the cards in a bid to claw back some of its losses.

As photographs posted on social network sites showed near-empty aircraft, the company has even started slashing prices in a bid to lure back nervous passengers.

It has also doubled its commission payments to travel agents in Australia to try to revive sales there.

There has still been no sign of flight MH370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March.

And the bodies of those killed when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July were returned home just last week.

Up to a quarter of the firm's 19,500-strong workforce are set to be affected Credit: REUTERS

Plunging ticket sales and heavy losses have been reported at the airline even before the tragedies, but are thought to have accelerated over the past six months.

The situation was not helped by the resignation of almost 200 members of the flight crew between January and July, many of whom quit citing family pressure not to risk flying after the crashes.

The remains of those killed on flight MH17 were returned last week Credit: Reuters

Former chief pilot for Malaysia Airlines, Nik Haslan, said the company was suffering from an "image problem", and needed to find a new leader that staff could rally behind.

And as state fund Khazanah Nasional, the majority owner, prepares to take the company private, airline executives told the Reuters news agency that the tragedies had served as a "wake-up call" that drastic change was needed.

There needs to be a change in the mindset, and people are coming around to that.

People must realise that they may need to work differently - the crew may have to work longer shifts or they may have shorter layovers.

The engineers may have to work a bit longer or clear aircraft faster.

– Senior executive, Malaysia Airlines