Malaysia Airlines and sole owner Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, are in talks with the government seeking additional funds to help the airline pull through the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Edge weekly.
The weekly reported on Saturday that Malaysia Airlines declined to disclose the amount sought, and said it was difficult to ascertain the immediate amount of funding required to keep the carrier operating as the outbreak situation continues to evolve.
The Malaysian government has been seeking a strategic partner for its financially ailing national airline, which has struggled to recover from two tragedies in 2014 – the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.
“We are working closely with our (sole) shareholder, Khazanah, and the government on the financial support needed to sustain Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd (MAG) through this crisis,” a spokesman for the airline said, according to The Edge.
MAG is the holding company for the national carrier.
The airline has been undergoing restructuring for years, with Khazanah taking it private in 2014. A 6 billion ringgit ($26 billion) government funding package announced that year has been fully disbursed, the spokesman said.
The airline said due to the pandemic, it will be reviewing its latest turnaround plan, “as many assumptions and parameters have changed as a result of the crisis”.
Privately held Golden Skies Ventures has recently made a $2.5 billion offer to fully take over MAG, with financing from a European bank.
Khazanah, however, said it was not convinced by the proposal.