KUALA LUMPUR: Merging money-losing state carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) with budget airline AirAsia Group Bhd is one of the options to “save” them as the Covid-19 crisis batters the industry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali told Reuters.
The pandemic that has killed at least 143,744 people around the world has led to lockdowns in many countries, brought air travel to a virtual halt and left airlines battling for survival.
Azmin(pic below), who is International Trade and Industry Minister and the government’s designated second-in-command, said deliberations would soon take place on various options to help out the country’s airline industry.
He said a possible merger between MAB and AirAsia, a private airline based in Malaysia and operating in multiple countries, was considered even last year.
“That discussion took place even last year, even before this pandemic came. But we need to continue the discussion, ” he said 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.”
Azmin said that even before the pandemic crisis it was “no plain sailing” for the airlines industry. Since last year, Malaysia has been looking for a strategic partner for MAB.
“We were also looking at some of the proposals coming from international players, ” he said. “Now the situation is becoming more complex because of this pandemic. We are looking at all options.” — Reuters
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