Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Losses nearly double for Malaysia Airlines after MH370’s disappearance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 11:26pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 1:44pm

Crisis-stricken Malaysia Airlines said yesterday its second-quarter loss nearly doubled as the disappearance of flight MH370 spurred a decline in bookings.

The airline, which warned losses would accelerate, posted a 305.7 million ringgit (HK$753 million) loss in the April-June quarter, following the March 8 disappearance of the flight with 239 people aboard.

That compared to a 175 million ringgit (HK$431 million) loss in the same period of last year.

It was the sixth straight quarterly loss for Malaysia Airlines, which has struggled to stay competitive and is now in dire financial straits following MH370 and the July 18 shooting down over Ukraine of flight MH17, killing all 298 aboard.

"The impact of the MH370 incident and intensified competition resulted in" a 6.7 per cent drop in bookings, it said in a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange.

The airline - which is in the process of being taken over by Malaysia's state investment fund as part of a bid to restructure and rescue the company - warned that second-half results will be even worse.

"The full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 is expected to hit Malaysia Airlines in the second half of the year, where we saw a sharp decline in average weekly bookings by 33 per cent immediately after the MH17 incident, with numerous flights cancelled," it said.

The airline has bled money for years, losing a combined US$1.3 billion over the past three calendar years before 2014, as competition from more nimble rivals has lured away travellers.