Malaysia Airlines could be sold, shut or refinanced by government

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Malaysia Airlines might be facing an uncertain future, as the country’s government is reportedly weighting in to shut, sell or refinance the national carrier. The news comes two weeks after the airline has revealed its latest annual financial results, calling the year 2018 “challenging”.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told reporters on March 12, 2019, that the government is debating on what it should do with the financially troubled Malaysia Airlines, naming three possible options: shutting down, selling or refinancing. The decision is expected “soon”.

Malaysia Airlines didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

The carrier is implementing a turnaround plan, aiming to put an end to year after year of financial losses. But so far, the idea remains a goal for the future. The airline finished the 2018 financial year on a “marginally lower loss” compared to 2017, according to its March 1, 2019, statement.

“The year was an extremely challenging one with the airline hampered by intense competition and volatility in fuel and FOREX,” Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Izham Ismail is quoted in the statement. “Whilst we saw traction in RASK and CASK the margin gap was not enough to achieve break even, although losses in 2018 was lower than the previous year. This was due to several factors in particular the crew shortage which did have a significant impact on the year’s performance. We have gained some traction in stabilising our operations and continue to be vigilant in managing our revenue and cost”.

Since 2014, Malaysia Airlines is 100% owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad — the sovereign wealth fund belonging to the Government of Malaysia.

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