Analysis: Can Malaysia Airlines survive double tragedy?
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Analysis: Can Malaysia Airlines survive double tragedy?

Loss of two aircraft and more than 500 people make it seem almost impossible to continue, reports Asia Sentinel

The tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17 with 298 passengers and crew aboard, coupled with the mysterious disappearance of a second Boeing 777-200 into the Indian Ocean with the loss of 239 on March 8, could well doom the airline.

No other airline has ever suffered a double tragedy of this magnitude, especially one that had swum in a river of red ink for years. The airline has a sad history of exploitation by cronies connected to the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) despite a record of excellent service that earned it five stars from Skytrax.

MAS’s current chief executive officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his team, have been given credit for reacting well to the disappearance of MH370. They put in place an array of promotions plus a banner on the website pointing out its five star status. The airline attempted to convey a message that its operations were proceeding normally. But passenger traffic had fallen drastically after MH370. Given the double loss, the psychological impact on passengers is likely to cut even deeper into passenger traffic.

Despite the most intensive search in aviation history, not a trace has been found of MH370 – no floating debris, nothing. It is considered the greatest mystery in aviation. The search, now four months along, continues although the focus of where the plane might have disappeared to has changed several times, all to no avail. By contrast, MH17 just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, flying a route flown by scores of other airlines even though a civil war raged on the ground, when it was brought down by missiles apparently fired by Ukrainian separatists allegedly trained by Russian technicians who thought they were shooting at a Ukrainian troop carrier, if intercepted transmissions can be believed.

It also seems certain that the two disasters will attract the attention of the Rottweilers of the US legal profession, no matter how the demise of the two planes came about, generating a flock of lawsuits.

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