PUTRAJAYA: The deep losses of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), coupled with bad management previously, make it very difficult to turn it around, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"We have a problem with MAS.
"The last government gave it RM6bil, they sacked 6,000 people, then they don't fly to 60% of the destinations.
"There was no gain in what they tried to do," he said in a press conference on Monday (May 6) in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan's first year anniversary of taking over Putrajaya on May 9.
Dr Mahathir said the government was still searching for the best solution for MAS.
"I do not know what is happening. Everybody tells me it is determined to fail but nobody has come up with a proper solution," he added.
Asked if the government would sell MAS, Dr Mahathir replied: "Sometimes we think we might sell the airline (like Italian airlines belongs to the Arabs). So many airlines have been sold to other people.
"Airline business now is very competitive, after the emergence of low-cost carriers. The high-cost carriers do not get passengers.
"Then you have Arab airlines providing luxurious facilities. People cannot challenge this.
"We have yet to make a decision (whether to sell or keep MAS)," said Dr Mahathir.
Experts believe MAS may report about RM1bil in losses for the full year in 2018 after incurring about RM2.4bil losses from 2015 to 2017, as losses to pile up despite previous attempts to resuscitate the airline.
For its near-term sustainability, experts reckoned a RM1bil to RM3bil cash injection would be needed.