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Published on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Malaysia explores possible merger for cash-strapped airlines

Malaysia government officials are reportedly exploring options for a bailout of the country's top two carriers.

It may set up an investment vehicle to take on the debt of Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia Group.

According to people with knowledge of the matter, a merger is also being considered.

The coronavirus crisis has grounded the government's plans to sell off cash-strapped Malaysia Airlines and market conditions are unlikely to improve sufficiently for quite some time.

A merger is a possible solution but is a risky move politically.

A previous merger proposal a few years ago led to a public backlash.

Malaysia Airlines has struggled to turn its fortunes around since the MH370 mystery in 2014 and the downing of a jet over Ukraine just a few months later.

It is currently owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund.

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