As the country is battling the Covid-19 crisis, many businesses struggle to stay alive, specially the tourism field.
Malaysia's second-most senior minister said that merging the budget airline - AirAsia Group Bhd with the money-losing state carrier - Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) is one of the possible way to "save" them.
Decisions would come about soon on various options in order to help out the airline industry in Malaysia, said Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, the Malaysia's minister of international trade and industry and the designated second-in-command of Malaysia's government.
Photo source from New Straits Times.
He said that the merger of MAB and AirAsia was considered even last year.
“That discussion took place even last year, even before this pandemic came. But we need to continue the discussion,” said Azmin in an interview. “We need to see how best we can save those airlines, and it’s not going to be a very simple answer. Things are very bad, the aircraft are not flying. We need to sit down and discuss how to address these issues.”
Both the airlines has not provided any response up till now.
The minister said that the airline industry was not doing well even before the pandemic crisis and that Malaysia has been searching for a strategic partner for MAB since last year.
“We were also looking at some of the proposals coming from international players,” said Azmin. “Now the situation is becoming more complex because of this pandemic. We are looking at all options.”
The national airline has been struggling to recover from the past 2 tragedies in 2014 - the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, which has led the government to the search for strategic partner.
Last week, AirAsia said that there were no incoming revenue and about 96% of its fleet has been grounded since March. AirAsia X Bhd, the long-haul arm of AirAsia, had also parked most its planes at its hub in Kuala Lumpur.
Photo source from Straits Times.
News source from Reuters.