Malaysia Airlines says it is taking steps to reverse massive losses

National flag-carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd. said it is taking steps to boost its financial prospects after recently suffering record losses of 280.7 million ringgit (US$74.5 million; Ђ61.8 million).

Malaysia Airlines operates one of Southeast Asia's biggest passenger fleets, with about 100 planes and more than 9,000 employees.

"Steps are being taken to address (the financial and operational performance), and will be announced at the appropriate time," the company said in a statement late Tuesday. It did not elaborate.

Analysts said the airline could detail some of its proposals next week, when it releases its financial results for the second quarter ending Sept. 30.

In August, the airline reported its worst quarterly performance in four years, with a 280.7 million ringgit (US$74.5 million; Ђ61.8 million) loss that it blamed on high fuel and operating costs.

The second-quarter losses could be slightly higher, as jet fuel prices continued to rise and the company's new management did not assume control until late August, analysts said.

Earlier this week, the Finance Ministry _ which owns 69 percent of the airline _ rapped it over its high overhead and said it should consider layoffs to cut costs.

Finance Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Hilmi Yahaya noted that the airline had already asked senior managers to take a voluntary pay cut of 15 percent to 30 percent starting Dec. 1.

On Tuesday, the airline defended its catering partnership with Gubahan Saujana Sdn. Bhd., a joint venture between local food company Fahim Capital Sdn. Bhd. and Lufthansa's LSG Sky Chefs.

Hilmi had said in a report that it was "public knowledge" that food was being supplied to Malaysia Airlines at high cost.

Malaysia Airlines said its partnership with LSG was "to drive down the cost of catering significantly without adversely impacting the quality of our service.", AP reported. V.A.

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Author`s name Editorial Team