The Malaysian tourism minister has said the government will not inject any more money into the state-owned Malaysian Airlines after the MH370 disaster.
The ailing national carrier has suffered a slump in bookings and £750 million losses following the disappearance of the flight two months ago and is undergoing ‘restructuring’.
Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, said the government will not put ‘any more money’ into the troubled airline.
Malaysia Airlines – which is owned by the government through a holding company – had already suffered $1.3billion losses over the past three years as it faced stiff competition and unprofitable routes, Gulf News reports.
Mr Aziz said that the government is now unsure what it can do – but he added: ‘To inject new capital is certainly not an option.’
It now looks unlikely that the government will sell the national carrier to private investor after the share price dropped both under the restructuring plans and the flight MH370 disaster.
Aziz – speaking at the Arabian Travel Market to plug the tourism industry in Malaysia – also revealed that there has been a 30 per cent in drop off in tourism numbers from China in the past two months.
Most of those onboard the missing flight were from China.
Experts have narrowed the area where the plane is presumed to have crashed to a large arc of the Indian Ocean about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) northwest of the city of Perth in western Australia.
The aircraft could have flown for up to seven hours after it went missing, meaning that even if the cockpit recorder is found, its standard two-hour recording loop would not cover conversations during the crucial early stages of the flight.
It comes after an international panel of experts announced they are to re-examine all of the data gathered in the hunt for the missing flight to ensure search crews have been looking in the right place.
Government officials from Australia, China and Malaysia yesterday pledged not to give up searching for the aircraft that disappeared almost two months ago.
They met in the Australian capital to discuss the next step in the search for the missing flight, which will centre around an expanded patch of seafloor in a remote area of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia.
The area became the focus of the hunt after a team of analysts calculated the plane’s likeliest flight path based on satellite and radar data.
Starting Wednesday, that data will be re-analyzed and combined with all information gathered so far in the search, which has not turned up a single piece of debris despite crews scouring more than 4.6 million square kilometers (1.8 million square miles) of ocean.
‘We’ve got to this stage of the process where it’s very sensible to go back and have a look at all of the data that has been gathered, all of the analysis that has been done and make sure there’s no flaws in it, the assumptions are right, the analysis is right and the deductions and conclusions are right,’ Angus Houston, head of the search operation, told reporters in Canberra.
Investigators have been stymied by a lack of hard data since the plane vanished on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A weeklong search for surface debris was called off last week after officials determined any wreckage that may have been floating has likely sunk.
‘Unfortunately, all of that effort has found nothing,’ Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said. ‘We’ve been confident on the basis of the information provided that the search area was the right one, but in practice, that confidence has not been converted into us discovering any trace of the aircraft.’