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Airline axes 6,000 after disasters

Malaysia Airlines is to axe 6,000 jobs - around a third of the workforce - as it struggles to overcome the twin disasters that have hit it this year.

The announcement comes after the disappearance of flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean in March and the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine last month.

The MH370 incident, on March 8, involved a Boeing 777 plane en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. Despite intensive searches, no trace of the aircraft has been found and a fresh hunt has now been instigated.

The Ukraine incident on July 17 again involved a Boeing 777. The flight, with 298 people on board including 10 Britons, was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

It is believed the aircraft was brought down by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists. Black box flight recorders have been recovered from the scene and an interim report on the crash is expected soon from the Dutch Safety Board which is in overall charge of the investigation.

The job losses, announced in Kuala Lumpur, are part of a major restructuring of the airline which will see a new chief executive in place next year, as well as the carrier being completely taken over by the Malaysian government.

There will also be a restructuring of routes flown, although the twice-daily service between Heathrow airport in west London and Kuala Lumpur, on which the world's largest passenger plane the Airbus A380 superjumbo operates, is set to continue.

A London-based Malaysia Airlines spokesman said: "The London-Kuala Lumpur route is highly successful and will carry on.

"Today's announcement is all about rebuilding the airline after these two awful incidents. The airline is being reshaped and the aim is to return it to profitability."

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