Bellew to leave Malaysia Airlines to return to Ryanair

Ryanair has denied that a shortage of pilots has prompted it to cancel around 700,000 flight bookings

OUTGOING Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Peter Bellew has expressed confidence in the appointment of Captain Izham Ismail as the new group CEO and executive director of the airline. Critics said the airline was suffering a pilot shortage after a number of captains and first officers had deserted to rival carrier Norwegian.

Hired last year on a three-year contract until June 2019 with Malaysia Airlines, he had been expected to train Malaysian leadership to take over.

Izham, now Malaysia Airlines chief operating officer, will be the carrier's fourth chief executive since 2014 when the company was plunged into crisis by the disappearance of flight MH370 and the downing of MH17.

"He said that he was happy to be in Malaysia and that the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines would be "the greatest achievement of my life". Prior to becoming COO in 2016, he served in multiple managerial positions, most notably as CEO of MASwings, Malaysia Airlines' sister company in Sabah and Sarawak.

Capt Izham has logged 38 years of experience in the aviation industry, having started his career with Malaysia Airlines as a pilot in 1979. He has a valuable breadth of understanding that spans airline operations and business management. I am very proud of you Izham.

"We are now in the third year of the five year MRP (MAS Recovery Plan) and it is timely for us to appoint a Malaysian to see it through to the finish line".

"With Ryanair under fire for the cancellation of 20,000 flights, a statement from the airline said that Bellew would specifically be responsible for managing pilots and "(ensuring) that the pilot rostering failure which Ryanair suffered in early September will never be repeated".

"Helming the national airline is a big responsibility".

"As provided for by the MRP, the restructuring of Malaysia Airlines follows a well laid-out governance and approval framework".

He also said his resignation was not motivated by interference by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the owner of Malaysia Airlines.

"As COO, he was responsible for the operations division, which includes flight and airport operations, as well as engineering", it added.

"The repeated turnover at the top makes the already challenging turnaround even more hard to complete", said Sobie.

Khazanah said Izham, in his role as Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer (COO), has played an integral role in the on-going execution of the turnaround plan for the airline.

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