Azman Mokhtar, managing director of Kazanah, Malaysia Airline’s biggest shareholder, said the government would unveil a rescue plan for the embattled national carrier in six to 12 months.
“It’s an important issue. It takes into account both the national interest and taxpayers’ money,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. “We are exploring all options.”
Kazanah owns 69.4 per cent of the airline, which was already struggling amid competition from low-cost carriers even before the disappearance of the Boeing 777 airliner three months ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Malaysia Airlines last month reported a 58 per cent widening in net losses in the three months to March 31. Bookings from China – one of the airline’s most important destinations and sources of business – fell by 60 per cent.
The state-owned carrier has also faced fears over its survival, amid speculation the government might withdraw the financial largesse on which it has long relied to stay afloat.
However, domestic aviation sector passenger traffic had stabilised in the first quarter and a “fare war” was over, providing a glimmer of hope for Malaysia-based airlines, according to Maybank. They include AirAsia, the low-cost carrier run by entrepreneur Tony Fernandes.
“The MH370 incident caused a dip in international traffic in March, but the overall impact has been small,” said Maybank analyst Mohshin Aziz of Malaysia Airlines’ performance.
However he noted that yields – revenue per passenger – were weak on both domestic and international routes, and that management had said it did not expect a turnround in the airline’s fortunes this year.