MASwings soaring through turbulence

MAS subsidiary unaffected by troubles besetting parent company, says CEO

Ritzerwan (sixth left) and Ong (fourth right) join MASwings and Firefly cabin crew in presenting souvenirs to passengers boarding a MASwings flight from Kuching to Mulu.

KUCHING: Malaysia Airlines subsidiary MASwings has not been affected by the rise in resignations faced by its parent company following the double tragedies that struck the national carrier this year.

MASwings chief executive officer Captain Ritzerwan Rashid told a press conference yesterday that MASwings crew members have been advised to stay focused on their duties.

“We do not see our cabin crew members making the move. In fact, MASwings will continue to stay focused and will only act when there are directives from our parent company MAS,” he stressed.

In a statement on Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines said 186 of its crew had resigned between January and July this year, with many citing family pressure due to the MH370 and MH17 tragedies as the reason.

Meanwhile, fellow Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly would soon see more crew members joining the airline.

“Nobody is leaving Firefly but instead we have more coming in to join us,” said its chief executive officer Ignatius Ong.

“Our current fleet size is 15 and we are looking to increase the number of aircraft to 17 within the next four years. With this rapid growth, we are looking for more to come in and join us.”

Ritzerwan and Ong later jointly launched the MASwings-Firefly Cabin Crew Integration Programme.

Under the programme, 10 MASwings cabin crew from East Malaysia will fly alongside Firefly crew members on flights around Peninsular Malaysia, while 10 Firefly cabin crew will be integrated into MASwings’ flights and routes.

Held for the second year running as part of efforts to strengthen greater national integration as well as to mark National Day and Malaysia Day, passengers flying MASwings and Firefly will get to be part of this unique experience from this Sunday (Aug 31) to Sept 16.

Ritzerwan said passengers of both airlines would be able to appreciate a different level of customer experience during the programme.

“What’s different about this programme is the exchange of knowledge, places and cultures within Malaysia,” he said.

“We are extremely pleased to share this achievement we have with Firefly and are going to continue working together towards the success of MAS group, harnessing our strengths and synergies towards national integration, especially in the spirit of Merdeka and Malaysia Day, and to bring the brand awareness of Firefly to East Malaysia and MASwings to West Malaysia and surrounding regions.”

Ong agreed that the programme would raise awareness of both airlines.

“Through my walks in West Malaysia, I found that the visibility of MASwings is really not there and I believe Firefly is not much known in East Malaysia unless it is in city centres.

“What we really want to do is to bring that brand awareness to MASwings and Firefly while also showcasing the diversity of Malaysia and yet concurrently displaying our togetherness that Malaysians, whether we are from the peninsula or Borneo, are closely knitted into the fabric of this marvellous society,” he said.

All 20 cabin crew assigned to the programme have been sent for training to equip and prepare them for the differences in operations and services of both carriers, further benefiting their knowledge and credibility.

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