Malaysian Crew Members 'Afraid To Fly'

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Malaysian Airlines has been losing cabin crew at a higher than normal rate recently and the leader of its biggest union says there's no mystery there. Abu Malek Ariff told AFP some employees "are now afraid to fly." Since the missile attack on one of its aircraft in Ukraine, which followed the March disappearance of another Boeing 777, it's believed that family pressure has also convinced some of the flying staff to find other work. At total of 186 people quit following the Ukraine incident. More than 500 people, including 27 crew, are either dead or missing without a trace in the two incidents. "Following the MH17 incident, there was a spike in crew resignations but the number has now decreased to acceptable and routinely expected levels," the airline said in a statement. "Many cited 'family pressure' as the reason for their resignation due to the MH17 and MH370 tragedies." Meanwhile, Thai Airways is denying reports that it's facing an exodus from its cockpits over the airline's troubled financial situation.

A local report said 200 pilots quit suddenly because they're worried about the deficit the state-controlled carrier is running and the debts it's running up. The airline told a news conference Monday that 30 pilots have quit but it hasn't affected operations. Thai Airways announced earlier this year that it is restructuring after more than a year of heavy losses and will lose about 25 percent of its workforce by 2018. The airline now has 24,000 employees operating a mostly aging mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft and faces stiff competition from carriers springing up in neighboring countries. Restructuring of the airline was ordered by the ruling military junta, which has given orders to a so-called "super committee" to restore the airline to world-class status over the next five years.