After back-to-back tragedies, Malaysia Airlines is reportedly burning more than $2 million every single day as it struggles to find its feet again.
In March, the airline made international headlines when one of its planes, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared without a trace. Four months later, the airline met with yet another catastrophe after Flight MH 17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down in Ukraine; all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board were killed.
In the aftermath of the two disasters, Malaysia Airlines has gone into a "financial tailspin," reported NPR earlier this month. The situation has become so dire that the Malaysian government is planning on nationalizing the airline and giving the company a total overhaul, per The Associated Press.
Oliver McGee, an aerospace engineer and professor at Howard University, recently put into perspective the uphill battle that the airline faces."[Malaysia Airlines] burns its cash reserves at nearly $2.16 million each day," McGee wrote in a blog post Friday. "Operations are losing about $1.6 million a day. … With this enormous cash burn rate, the Malaysian air carrier struggles to survive, as bookings continuing to slide."
As Mashable notes, the airline has been having great difficulty filling seats on its flights in recent months.
Picture sent to me of a Malaysia Airlines flight out of Australia today to Asia | pic.twitter.com/3nrsdKIBmg
— Ricardo Goncalves (@BUSINESSricardo) August 15, 2014
The importance of brand trust & values. Malaysia Airlines queue for check in empty 1.5hrs before the flight to KL pic.twitter.com/9MStJ66YeW
— Ruslan Kogan (@ruslankogan) March 10, 2014
Though this year's two tragedies have contributed to Malaysia Airlines' financial downfall, it seems the company has been losing money for quite some time. "Malaysia Airlines stock prices reveal a business deeply in the red for the past several years," wrote McGee.
Last month, James Healy-Pratt, an aviation lawyer, told the Telegraph that he was skeptical the airline could pull through after all that's happened this year.
“Malaysia Airlines to lose two aircraft, and over 500 passengers within six months is devastating," he said. “It has been losing money as an airline for a considerable amount of time. Many other airlines have ceased to exist in similar circumstances.”
Still, some experts believe that its importance in the Malaysian economy and tourism industry might be the key to the airline's survival. It's just a matter, they say, of whether or not the Malaysian government will be willing to keep it afloat.
"[Malaysia Airlines] was an airline which was barely surviving after the first incident let alone the second," Seth Kaplan, managing partner of Airline Weekly, told the Telegraph. “Of course it can survive, but it becomes a political decision for the Malaysian government.”
According to Reuters, Malaysia Airlines postponed publication of its second-quarter earnings earlier this month. The company is reportedly due to release the information this week.