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Friday, 08 August 2014 13:35

Crisis-hit Malaysia Airlines faces 'complete overhaul'

Malaysia Airlines will be taken over by the country's state investment fund and de-listed, as part of plans announced Friday for a "complete overhaul" to rescue the company from oblivion after two crippling air disasters.

 

Khazanah Nasional, which owns 70 percent of the airline, said it intends to purchase all minority shareholdings -- later pulling the stock from the Kuala Lumpur exchange -- and will finalise a restructuring plan by the end of the month, according to AFP reports.

The 68-year-old flag carrier has haemorrhaged cash for years as it struggled to cope with intensifying industry competition, and the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 have further pummelled bookings.

Flight MH370 disappeared mysteriously in March with 239 people aboard, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace has been found and the airline was widely criticised for its handling of the crisis.

On July 17, MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, with another 298 people killed.

MAS is burning through an estimated $2 million a day as a result of its crumbling business and disaster-related costs, and speculation had been mounting that Khazanah would step in.

The investment fund said all stakeholders would need to work together to rescue the company via a "complete overhaul" extending across "the airline's operations, business model, finances, human capital and regulatory environment".

The widely expected move requires approval from MAS's board. The airline said its operations would be unaffected in the interim.

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