Malaysia Airlines cutting 6,000 jobs

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia Airlines will cut 6,000 workers as part of an overhaul announced Friday to revive its damaged brand after two passenger jet disasters.

The staff reduction represents about 30 percent of its current workforce of 20,000.

Khazanah Nasional, the state investment company that owns 69 percent of the airline, said the overhaul includes the establishment of a new company that will take over the existing Malaysia Airlines business and its reduced staff.

The overhaul and new investment in the carrier will cost about 6 billion Malaysian ringgit ($1.9 billion).

The airline will be taken completely under the wing of the government. Khazanah previously announced that it plans to take 100 percent ownership.

Investigators continue to scour the southern Indian Ocean for Flight 370 which veered far of course while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board.

On Thursday, an Australian official said the sprawling southern Indian Ocean search area for the plane may be extended farther south based on a new analysis of a failed attempt to call the plane by satellite phone.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the analysis of the call, attempted by Malaysia Airlines officials on the ground soon after Flight 370 disappeared from radar, "suggests to us that the aircraft might have turned south a little earlier than we had previously expected."

In July, 298 people were killed when Flight 17 was blasted out of the sky as it flew over an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Khazanah said at a press conference that it has begun a search for a new chief executive for the airline, which is likely to be completed by the end of this year.

Current CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya will continue to head Malaysia Airlines until its new incarnation is established in July next year.

The state investment fund said it aims to restore Malaysia Airlines to profitability by the end of 2017.

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