After suffering two horrific air tragedies this year, Malaysia Airlines is having trouble filling its flights.
Photos on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites are showing nearly empty flights, waiting areas, and check-in lines for the embattled airline.
Leanne Marotta, who flew Malaysia from Melbourne, Australia to Kuala Lumpur on August 14th, posted the above photo. She says there were approximately 60 people aboard the flight.
According to Howard University professor Oliver McGee, the airline is losing $US1.6 million per day on its operations and burning through its cash reserves at nearly $US2.16 million per day.
Malaysia Airlines has tried to fix the problem — in Australia, at least — by doubling the commission it gives to travel agents from 6% to 11%.
It is also offering extremely discounted fares for some flights. A round trip flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is selling for $US238, according to Mashable, while comparable flights on other airlines are going for more than $US500.
That doesn’t apply to all flights however. Our own fare checks have found Malaysia Airlines flights from New York to Kuala Lumpur to be equally or more expensive than most other air carriers.
In light of the current troubles, it appears that the airline will soon be taken private, paving the way for a complete overhaul. While the dual disasters have wrecked the brand, Malaysia Airlines has been struggling for years as budget airlines in Asia and the Middle East have upped the competition and squeezed profit margins.
While its not definitive what shape the overhaul may take, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the airline could cut 3,000-4,000 jobs, replace its CEO, and cut numerous routes. Between its cost-cutting efforts and a possible rebranding as a “premium airline,” instead of a full-service airline, Malaysia is trying everything to avoid going under.
Here are a couple more photos:
We’ve reached out to the airline for additional information on customer traffic, and will update when we hear back.
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