KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS) is racing against time to come up with a strategic plan to turn around its financial performance which was further impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the sovereign wealth fund was awaiting details of the plan and would provide its input.
“Quite clearly, there’s time pressure. They need to figure it out as soon as possible, but we leave it in their hands.
“They have to figure out the plan and present it to the shareholders, ” he said.
Khazanah is the sole owner of MAS after taking it private in 2014.
“We will see what assistance we can provide to help them with the plan, but it will take some time to work out.
“The crisis is very difficult for all airlines, anything travel or aviation related.
“Just like any other airline, they will have to come up with a plan to manage that, ” Shahril told several reporters yesterday on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2020 here.
“The problem with Covid-19 is that most people don’t have a clear idea on what the future is going to look like in terms of travel and demand, and honestly, many people are just using assumptions at this point of time.
“It’s unprecedented in terms of the crisis to the whole industry, and therefore, I think it will be a real challenge to really understand how consumer behaviour is going to change in the long term, as well as how demand is going to change, ” said Shahril.
The financial performance of aviation companies has been battered by the pandemic, which saw countries imposing lockdowns and travel curbs and bringing global passenger air travel to almost a halt.
On Monday, AirAsia Group Bhd announced a loss of RM803.85mil for its first quarter compared with a profit of RM96.09mil a year earlier.
In the same quarter, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd recorded a loss of RM20.39mil as compared with a profit of RM149.58mil a year ago.
“Essentially, like all airlines during the pandemic, demand and capacity has dropped to less than 5% of what it used to be, even now.
“Even though traveling by air is perfectly safe from the point of view of how planes are fitted out with filters and everything else, naturally there is a bit of apprehension, ” said Shahril, adding that it will take time for the market to recover.
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