Five Companies Interested In Rescuing Malaysia Airlines

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Malaysia Airlines is currently being courted by five different airlines; Qatar, AirAsia, Malindo Air, China Southern, and Japan Airlines. KLM-Air France was rumored to have made an offer for 49% of the airline but has since denied these claims.

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Malaysia Airlines has five different bids. Photo: Getty Images.

Why is Malaysia Airlines in trouble?

Malaysia Airlines is an unlucky airline. It suffered two major tragedies that killed all passengers on board; one aircraft lost across the Indian Ocean, another shot down in Ukraine. Then it has had its fleet of 25 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft undelivered thanks to the well-publicized crisis.

Facing additional competition from the Middle Eastern carriers and regional rivals Singapore Airlines (who used to be part of Malaysia Airlines no less), Cathay Pacific and AirAsia, the carrier has struggled to find a place in the 2020s.

But apart from these issues, the airline is actually quite a good investment with a robust route network and a relatively modern fleet. Thus it seems that the best action moving forward would to find an airline partner to invest in the struggling airline, and help it lift back to its old glory days.

“The bids from the foreign carriers are more comprehensive and strategic as both plan to capitalize on the strategic location of Malaysia for their operations,”

AirAsia
AirAsia has been cutting into the profits of Malaysia for some time. Photo: AirAsia

What are the details of these five offers?

Currently, there are five rumored solid offers

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  • Qatar
  • AirAsia
  • China Southern
  • Malindo Air
  • Japan Airlines

We are not surprised by the Qatar offer, as they seem to have their hands in everything. In fact, they own a chunk of so many airlines that they could open up their own alliance if they wanted to.

AirAsia is the local low-cost powerhouse and one of the main rivals of the carrier. Whilst they do cater to different markets, plenty of passengers do make a choice between the two when flying within Malaysia. As such, perhaps a partnership will mean that they can then focus on external competitors. AirAsia can be a ‘Jetstar’ to Malaysia’s ‘Qantas’, so to speak.

Not many details are known about the China Sothern Airlines bid or the Malindo Air bid at this stage. But as Qatar owns around 5% of China Southern, it is kind of a double ownership deal.

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Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
JAL is the most attractive offer in our opinion. Photo: JAL

What about Japan Airlines?

The last deal is from Japan Airlines. JAL and Malaysia already have a codesharing deal and this could be a natural extension. According to FlyerTalk, they have offered to buy 25% of the struggling airline and turn its hub into a natural extension of their airline empire. So far this deal seems the most solid.

As for the Air France – KLM bid, well that appears to not be true. The airline has since said that “Air France-KLM Not Involved In Malaysia Airlines Stake“.

Speaking to Reuters they said:

“Air France-KLM had previously been in contact with Malaysia Airlines’ shareholders, but at this stage, Air France-KLM is not a current party to the sales process of Malaysia Airlines.”

If only Alitalia had the same popularity as Malaysia Airlines.

What do you think? Who do you think would be the best company to buy Malaysia Airlines? Let us know in the comments.

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