Malaysia Airlines restructuring talks prolonged, CEO tells staff

Malaysia’s national airline is seeking to restructure its business after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to slash its operations. (AFP)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Malaysia Airlines restructuring talks prolonged, CEO tells staff

  • Malaysia’s national airline is seeking to restructure its business after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to slash its operations

SINGAPORE: Malaysia Airlines’ parent firm is still holding negotiations with lessors and creditors over a restructuring plan to keep the airline afloat, but the talks are taking “longer than expected,” according to a staff memo seen by Reuters.
“The negotiations are still ongoing and taking longer than the planned timeline, but we are gaining encouraging traction from the lessors and creditors thus far,” Izham Ismail, CEO of Malaysia Airlines and group CEO of parent firm Malaysia Aviation Group, said in a memo to staff on Oct 16.
In response to a Reuters query, Malaysia Aviation Group, owned by state fund Khazanah, said in an email on Saturday that it is “continuing discussions with creditors on its ongoing restructuring exercise.”
Malaysia’s national airline is seeking to restructure its business after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to slash its operations.
Reuters reported last week that a group of lessors had rejected the restructuring plan that involved steep discounts, bringing the carrier closer to a showdown over its future.
In the memo to staff, Ismail assured them that Malaysian Aviation Group’s restructuring exercise “is still work in progress.”


Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

Updated 27 November 2020

Ski resorts out in the cold as France eases lockdown

  • Frustrated resort operators count the cost of holiday season restrictions

MEGEVE, France:  Megeve, in the foothills of Mont Blanc, was gearing up to welcome back skiers before Christmas after a COVID-19 lockdown was eased.

But France’s government — while allowing cinemas, museums and theaters to reopen from Dec. 15 — says its ski slopes must stay off limits until 2021, leaving those who make their living in the Alpine village frustrated and, in some cases, perplexed.

“When you’re outside, when you’re doing sport outdoors, that’s not the moment when you’re going to give COVID-19 to someone. COVID-19 is passed on in enclosed places,” said Pierre de Monvallier, director of ski school Oxygene, which operates in several resorts including Megeve.

Announcing a phased easing of the lockdown on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “impossible to envisage” re-opening ski slopes for Christmas and New Year, and that he preferred instead to do so during January.

“It felt like the door had been slammed in our face,” said Catherine Jullien-Breches, the mayor of Megeve, whose green slopes are generally covered with snow by mid-December.

“Unfortunately it’s a real drama for the economies of the villages and the winter sports resorts.”

People who live within 20 km of France’s Alpine resorts will able to visit from this weekend, but with the lifts staying shut, the main draw is missing.

“It’s like going on holiday on the Cote d’Azur and being told the sea is off limits,” said David Le Scouarnec, co-owner of Megeve’s Cafe 2 la Poste.

The problem for the resorts — and the hotels, restaurants, and workers who depend on them for their livelihood — is that their season is short, and they will have little time after the New Year to claw back lost revenue.

Other European authorities are wrestling with the same problem. Italy’s resorts regions are seeking approval for restricted skiing, but Austria, whose biggest cluster of the first wave of the pandemic was at the ski resort of Ischgl — where thousands were infected — is skeptical.

Prevarication cuts little ice, however, with Mathieu Dechavanne, Chairman and CEO of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, which operates cable cars at Megeve and other resorts.

He said who could not understand why the government allowed trains and metros to operate, but barred him from re-opening. “It’s like we’re being punished. We don’t deserve this. We’re ready.”