Family of victims on missing Malaysia Airlines flights issue statement, saying they 'are perplexed as to why the Malaysian authorities are jumping the gun in wanting to make any announcements, while the search is long way from completion'
Editor's note: The missing AirAsia flight from Indonesia to Singapore is the third major air incident for Southeast Asia this year, AP notes. Malaysia Airlines flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing on March 8, and it's wreckage has not been located. Malaysia Airlines flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17. - Stephanie
5 more coffins carrying victims' remains from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 leave east Ukraine; Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders says it's uncertain whether last 9 victims will be recovered - @AFP
Malaysian Airline System (MAS; Malay: Sistem Penerbangan Malaysia; branded as Malaysia Airlines; (Malay: Penerbangan Malaysia) MYX: 3786 as Malaysian Airline System Berhad) is a major airline operating flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and from secondary hubs in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching to destinations throughout Asia as well as a handful of destinations in Europe and Oceania. Malaysia Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a member of the Oneworld airline alliance. The company's headquarters are located on the grounds of Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor, Greater Kuala Lumpur. In August 2014, the Malaysian government's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional—which then owned 69.37% of the airline—announced its intention to purchase remaining ownership from minority shareholders and de-list the airline from Malaysia's stock exchange, thereby renationalising the airline.
Malaysia Airlines owns two subsidiary airlines: Firefly and MASwings. Firefly operates scheduled flights from its two home bases Penang International Airport and Subang International Airport. The airline focuses on tertiary cities. MASwings focuses on inter-Borneo flights. Malaysia Airlines has a freighter fleet operated by MASkargo, which manages freighter flights and aircraft cargo-hold capacity for all Malaysia Airlines' passenger flights. Malaysia Airlines also provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and aircraft handling services to other companies.
The airline began as Malayan Airways Limited and flew its first commercial flight in 1947. A few years after Singapore's independence, the airline's assets were divided in 1972 to form Singaporean flag carrier Singapore Airlines and Malaysian flag carrier Malaysian Airline System.
Despite numerous awards from aviation industry, such as the five-star rating from Skytrax (2005-7, 2009, 2012–13; one of just seven airlines in the world with this rating in 2013) and recognition from the World Travel Awards as the leading airline in & to Asia (2010–11, 2013), the airline struggled to cut costs to compete with new, low-cost carriers in the region since the early 2000s. In 2013, the airline initiated a turnaround plan after large losses beginning in 2011 and cut routes to prominent, but unprofitable, long-haul destinations, such as the Americas (Los Angeles & Buenos Aires) and South Africa. Malaysia Airlines also began an internal restructuring and intended to sell units such as engineering and pilot training.
The disappearance and presumed crash of Flight 370 in March 2014 in mysterious circumstances shook consumer confidence in the airline, however, with bookings and stock prices declining. Just four months later, Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine; despite the route being well-traveled by major airlines, MAS received public criticism for traveling over the conflict zone. The losses totaled 537 passengers and crew and two Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Prior to 2014, MAS had one of the world's best safety records–just two fatal accidents in 68 years of operation, including a hijacking in 1977 that resulted in 100 deaths.