Thursday, June 12, 2008

MAS plans steep fuel charge hike

June 12, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA Airlines will raise its fuel surcharge substantially to counter rising crude oil prices within the next two weeks, chief executive officer Idris Jala said on Thursday.

'The increase will be on a route-by-route basis and will happen within two weeks,' he said, according to the state Bernama news agency. 'It will be high - and in line with what our competitors are imposing.'

Mr Jala, who earlier this month announced that the airline was freezing recruitment and considering axing more routes to cut costs, said the entire industry was in crisis.

'If the oil prices stay at the current levels, a lot of airline companies could go bankrupt,' he said.

He said this was the fifth fuel surcharge hike Malaysia Airlines had imposed over the past year as global crude oil prices continued to reach record levels.

Among cost-cutting measures, the carrier also plans to cut off non-profitable routes.

Malaysia Airlines in February had posted an all-time record profit of RM851 million (S$358 million) for 2007, ending a series of disastrous losses.

The result was the culmination of a sweeping transformation plan, which saw the airline slash staff and routes and sell non-core assets after suffering losses of RM1.3 billion in the first nine months of 2005. -- AFP

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