Malaysia Airlines sorry for tweet

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Malaysia Airlines has said its loss widened in the last quarter, and was forced to apologise for a promotional tweet criticised as insensitive after two deadly passenger jet disasters this year.

In its last public financial result before a planned privatisation and overhaul, the national carrier said its net loss in the July-September quarter rose 53% from a year earlier to 576.1 million ringgit (£108 million).

The airline’s business has suffered after a Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 people on board, mostly from China, went missing on March 8 while en route to Beijing. No trace of it has been found. In July, a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

As the airline’s overhaul gathers pace, it said it will continue to focus on building revenue through aggressive marketing and promotions, and better capacity management.

However, its marketing strategy came under fire after the airline tweeted, “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?”.

It removed the tweet today, saying it was meant to inspire travellers but “unintentionally caused offence to some”.

It was not the first faux pas for the airline since the disasters. In September, it scrapped the title of a competition asking people what activities and destinations are on their “bucket list”, a term used to describe a list of adventures people want to have before they die.

The airline said its quarterly revenue fell 12% from a year earlier to 3.33 billion ringgit (£625 million) amid poor market sentiment due to the double whammy of the disasters and intensified competition.

Declining fuel prices have helped stem losses but the airline said it continues to struggle as business in some markets, especially China, remains challenging.

The airline will be de-listed and taken completely under the wing of the government by the end of the year under an overhaul by the majority shareholder, state investment arm Khazanah Nasional.

Under the revamp, Malaysia Airlines will cut 6,000 workers – 30% of its workforce.

Khazanah aims to restore the airline to profitability by the end of 2017 and then re-list its shares on the stock exchange by the end of 2019.

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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