Financial News

  • 16 May 2014, 15:36

Missing MH370: Passengers Shun Malaysia Carrier

The scale of the backlash against Malaysian Airlines over the disappearance of flight MH370 has been laid bare by the carrier.

The company reported its biggest quarterly loss in over two years of £82.3m ($138m) on Thursday.

It said in its statement: "The tragic MH370 incident had a dramatic impact on the traditionally weak first quarter performance."

The flight had 239 people aboard - the majority of them Chinese - when it disappeared from radar screens on March 8.

It is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean off Australia's west coast but there has been no confirmed sighting of either the aircraft or debris, despite a frantic international search.

Malaysia, China and Australia have now agreed to re-examine all data relating to the flight to better pinpoint the search area, Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Thursday.

They will also undertake a survey to map the ocean floor and get more deep-sea search vehicles and other equipment to search it.

Officials have said that it could take a year to search the 23,000 sq mile (60,000 sq km) area where the plane is believed to have crashed.

The company's response to the mystery resulted in scathing criticism from relatives of those missing and now presumed dead.

It said it suffered high numbers of cancellations and a decline in long-haul travel, with sales in China slumping 60% in March alone.

Even before MH370 went missing, the airline had lost a combined £770m ($1.3bn) over the past three years, partly due to intense competition.

The company had previously announced a "thorough review" of its business plan as it sought to shore up its finances.

This may include the partial sale of its engineering unit and an upgrade of its ageing fleet, Reuters reported last week.

Shares in the company have dropped 14 percent since MH370 went missing.

Meanwhile, one of the airline's planes was grounded on Thursday after a service vehicle struck its belly.

Malaysia Airlines said passengers on the Myanmar-bound plane were put on a later flight while a "thorough check" was being conducted on the Boeing 737-800.

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