News / Asia

Malaysian Airlines Crash Heightens Firm’s Distress

A Malaysia Airlines representative serves a customer at its ticket office in Jakarta July 18, 2014.
A Malaysia Airlines representative serves a customer at its ticket office in Jakarta July 18, 2014.
Reuters

The second fatal incident involving Malaysia Airlines (MAS) in four months will deepen the slump in ticket sales and force the government to speed up any plan to rescue the stricken flagship carrier, bankers say.

An MAS jet en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down Thursday over eastern Ukraine’s rebel-held territory near the Russian border, killing all 298 people on board. Shares of the loss-making airline plunged as much as 18 percent on Friday.

The tragedy has triggered a call from world leaders for an international investigation and could prove a turning point for global pressure to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.

The catastrophe followed the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 on March 8. The earlier disaster has led the airline to report its biggest loss in two years in the January-March quarter.

Plans for restructuring

Sources told Reuters this month that state investor Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which owns 69 percent of MAS, plans to take it private as the first step in a major restructuring.

“Even if this is pure coincidence, it's never happened in history that such an airline as a flag carrier has seen two wide-body aircraft disappearing in a few months,” said Bertrand Grabowski, DVB Bank's managing director in charge of aviation. DVB is a banker to MAS.

“The support from the government needs to be more explicit and perhaps more massive,” the London-based Grabowski said.

Khazanah, which has injected more than 5 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion) into MAS over the last 10 years, had previously said it was considering all options.

Government officials declined to answer any media query on MAS's future at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Bankruptcy would be probable if no urgent action was taken, said Mohshin Aziz, a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst at Maybank, adding that MAS could run out of cash in about a year. It’s losing 5 million ringgit ($1.57 million) a day.

As MAS shares fall further and trade near record lows, prospects for fresh capital are diminishing.

The stock fell as low as 18.5 sen on Friday, trading near its lifetime low of 15 sen. The shares have lost nearly 85 percent of their value in the past five years versus a 64 percent rise in the main Malaysian market index.

MAS and Khazanah did not immediately respond to queries from Reuters.

Airline has struggled

For years, MAS has struggled to cope with high costs and a bloated workforce. It also faces intense competition from low-cost rival AirAsia Bhd on short-haul routes, and Gulf carriers and AirAsia X Bhd in the medium and long-haul markets.

Attempts to restructure the airline have been politically fraught. Its powerful labor unions oppose job losses, which has hampered previous revival plans.

Taking the airline private and restructuring it, slimming it down or possibly initiating a full-scale rebranding are among measures that could be considered, said Leo Fattorini, aviation partner at international law firm Bird & Bird.

The other option is to seek a tie-up with a foreign airline such as Etihad Airways, he said.

“You’ve got to ask whether the brand can survive this latest tragedy,” Fattorini said.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs