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Continued: Hit by double disasters, Malaysia Airlines may become tainted for travelers, never recover

  • Article by: STEPHEN WRIGHT , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 18, 2014 - 9:40 AM

For some travelers, the airline's poor financial health is more concerning for the future than the two disasters.

"Last time I saw them, the plane was almost empty and so I suspect, probably losing a lot of money," said tourist Ricky Leong as he checked in for a Malaysia Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur. "They're not going to maintain their fleet and there's going to be issues in the future."

After the disappearance of Flight 370, the biggest backlash emanated from China because its nationals were the majority of passengers on the flight. Hopes for a recovery in that crucial market might now be set back.

Tongcheng Network Technology, which operates the Chinese ticket booking website ly.com, suspended all flight ticketing and hotel bookings involving Malaysia Airlines after Flight 370 vanished.

"Now there's this plane crash, we would be very unlikely to consider resuming it in the future," said the manager of its public relations department, who only gave her surname, Zhang.

Crisis and risk management expert Kuniyoshi Shirai at A.C.E. Consulting in Tokyo said Malaysia Airlines must take dramatic steps such as replacing top executives in response to the disaster, which he blamed partly on the airline for flying over war-torn eastern Ukraine.

"Otherwise, you cannot regain the trust of either consumers or investors," he said.

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