Malaysia Airlines will close some of its Golden Lounge airport lounges around the world and redirect travellers to the lounges of Oneworld partners.
However, the lounges which remain open – including its flagship lounges at Kuala Lumpur – will receive a much-needed upgrade as MAS works to woo premium travellers.
"They will all be improved, because they are a little bit tired" newly-minted Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller told Australian Business Traveller.
"There is very little consistency in terms of what we offer when it comes to food, to workspace and other facilities. This is the plan for our main three lounges in KLIA, and also London Heathrow and Melbourne."
In the coming months Mueller's team will run the ruler over the entire Golden Lounge network to see which lounges will be shuttered in favour of better-equipped facilities run by Oneworld partners, much as the airline did with its Sydney lounge in 2014.
"We currently operate 11 lounges and some of them will be closed and replaced by those of Oneworld partners in order to provide a better service to the customer" Mueller said, "because our smaller lounges will never be able to compete with a larger lounge equipped with showers and so forth."
At the same time, some MAS lounges which currently open for short periods – sometimes as little as six hours a day, according to Mueller – might be "opened to selected airline partners for better capacity."
Mueller also revealed that the airline's Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 jets would be upgraded with a new fully-flat business class seat replacing the current angled flat beds and "sloping sleepers"
The announcements come ahead of a September 1 rebranding for Malaysia Airlines and form part of Mueller's sweeping program to re-invent the troubled airline.
"Malaysia still needs a national carrier" Mueller said, but describes the new Malaysia Airlines as a lean start-up which will spring from what he terms "a hard reset" of the current company.
"We have a pretty ambitious restructuring process ahead of us" Mueller said of the process, which will be accompanied by a downsized fleet, a cut in the number of destinations and shedding more than 6,000 employees to reduce its workforce by a third.
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