Malaysia Airlines to cut nearly a third of staff in extensive restructuring exercise

Malaysia Airlines is nearly through with its extensive restructuring plan, which would include slashing a-third of its workforce as it looks to recover after two plane tragedies last year.

The layoff would would impact an estimated 6,000 of the carrier's 20,000 staff. Reports now suggest however, that the figure could be closer to 8,000. The carrier had also appointed a senior administrator to oversee this transition period.

"All employees will get the termination letters and either a letter to join the new company, or to register ... [for] outplacement," said a company spokesperson.

The changes notwithstanding, the airline's "operations are very much business as usual," CEO Christoph Mueller said in a statement.

Malaysia Airlines was hit by a tsunami of negative publicity last year following the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of MH17.

The Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund pulled the carrier from the stock market and revealed a $1.8 billion restructuring plan.

Cutting unprofitable routes, getting new personnel at senior management levels, and cutting workforce are the key reforms the carrier is working on.

The company also hired Mueller, its current CEO, from Irish carrier Aer Lingus where he pulled the company through tough competition, and left it with a strong business model and consistent profits. 

Malaysia Airlines was also looking to sell two of its A380 jets, according to Mueller.

He added, Malaysia Airlines would be called Malaysia Airlines Berhad as of 1 September, and would take on a slimmer structure similar to a ''start-up.''

''It's not a continuation of the old company in a new disguise, everything is new,'' he told Reuters.