An information from Malaysia business weekly The Edge and relayed by news agency Reuters said that three airlines are interested to bid for a strategic share in Malaysia Airlines. These include China Southern, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways. Both latter denied the information.
Who will invest into Malaysia struggling national carrier Malaysia Airlines? A report citing internal sources in the Edge weekly newspaper last Saturday unveiled that Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd. -the sole shareholder of the flag carrier- had shortlisted four potential investors, including three airlines: Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and China Southern Airlines.
However, on the same day, a spokesman for Qatar Airways told Reuters in a brief text message that the airline was not among the bidders shortlisted. Then on Monday, Japan Airlines stepped into the media battle, announcing that it was not planning to take a stake in Malaysia Airlines Bhd. The Japanese company is waiting for approval to begin a tie-up with Malaysia Airlines rather than taking a stake in the carrier, a Japan Airlines spokesman said.
Malaysia will decide on the flag carrier’s strategic partner or investor by year-end or early 2020 at the latest, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said in parliament last week. Selling the carrier and turn it again profitable has been a hard -and impossible- tsk for Kazanah, following two accidents in a row back to 2014.
There are also sensitivity questions in Malaysia among the population regarding the sale of the national airline to foreigners. The outcry to sell a national asset prompted also the former Chairman of AirAsia Bhd Dato Pahamin to make a bid to take over the carrier. The former chairman promised not to cut jobs in the restructuring process and no re-branding. It appeared that the Pahamin bid did not convince the Malaysian sovereign fund. Khazanah Nasional has hired Morgan Stanley to look at strategic options for Malaysia Airlines.