Malaysia Airlines is still flying through turbulent skies, and reeling from two tragic plane crashes within a span of only 4.5 months. Amid investigations of both crashes and talks of privatization, its own passengers are sharing evidence of how the airline is failing to attract business.
Picture sent to me of a Malaysia Airlines flight out of Australia today to Asia | pic.twitter.com/3nrsdKIBmg
— Ricardo Goncalves (@BUSINESSricardo) August 15, 2014
— Ping (@WanPingCoombes) August 17, 2014
At Penang Airport, flying to Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysia Airlines check-in line is empty as a Richard Marx concert
— malkovichmusic.com (@malkovichmusic) July 25, 2014
It should surprise no one, really. Especially with the first incident (the disappearance of flight 370 on March 8th) shrouded in so much mystery. The airline is said to be burning through over $2 million per day. It has nearly doubled commissions to travel agents who book their customers' flights on Malaysia Airlines, from 6 to 11 percent. That's potentially lucrative to travel agents, but subtracts from Malaysia's income. Their cash flow problems existed before these events happened, as they've been unprofitable for the past three years.
An insider told Australia's News.com that the airline may reinvent itself as a premium carrier, instead of a full service airline. There's no doubt that Asia needs the airline seat capacity, as the region is the fastest-growing airline market in the world — outpacing the Middle East and United States.
Pan Am flight 103 wreckage in Lockerbie, Scotland
Historically, there are two cases we can reference on the possible direction Malaysia Airlines may take. Pan American Airways folded less than three years after the bombing of flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. In 2001, American Airlines suffered the crash of an Airbus A300 in Queens, New York only two months after two of its planes were hijacked and crashed on 9/11. American held on and prevailed (after bankruptcy) and has emerged as an essentially new airline. Looking into my crystal ball, I think Malaysia Airlines will continue to exist... if they can evolve into an economically efficient carrier and most importantly, regain the trust of the traveling public.