Malaysian government appoints new chairman for Malaysian Airlines

Ailing government-owned Malaysian Airlines Berhad (Malaysian Airlines) has a newly appointed non-executive chairman, YBhg Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (Wan Zulkiflee), effective July 1, taking over from Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof who resigned in March.

Malaysian Airlines has been struggling in the wake of the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the downing of Flight MH17, both in 2014, and the current global pandemic that has affected airlines worldwide. Currently Malaysian Airlines is estimated to need a government loan of US$5.15 billion to enable it to remain afloat until 2025. Wan Zulkiflee, a 37-year stalwart of Petronas, having risen to the ranks of president and CEO of Petronas, Malaysia’s only Fortune Global 500 company, is seen as a sound bet for Malaysian Airlines with the Malaysian prime minister hoping that it will “grow as a resilient and sustainable national carrier with good governance.”

Malaysian Aviation Group’s CEO, Izham Ismail has also approved the appointment of Wan Zulkiflee, saying: “Tan Sri Wan’s proven leadership and illustrious career at Petronas prove that he is the most suitable candidate to lead MAG forward as a strong player in the aviation industry and a critical enabler of national development.”

Over recent months the possibility of a merger between Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia has been mooted, though there has been considerable interest in the former, owing to its robust route network.

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