The Malaysia Airlines was privatized by the authorities in 2014, but the airline is yet to see a profitable year. Khazanah Nasional set targets for the career and it was meant to achieve break-even till 2017 and return profits in 2018, but, the career saw a loss of $179 million after taxes.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister at that time noticed this and said in a press conference in 2019 that they are considering three options for the airline. They can shut it down, increase investment, or sell the career. In the same year, Khazanah Nasional started to look for a strategic partner for the airline, and Morgan Stanley was appointed as an advisor.
The minister for economic affairs at that time, Azmin Ali, said in October 2019 that they had approached 20 participants as potential strategic partners and out of those 20, they have shortlisted 4 entities.
Shukor Yusof believes otherwise, and according to him the turnaround plan failed to consider many issues. He believes that the target was not realistic as the wealth fund didn’t consider the issue the career was facing for a long time. He said that the plan to turn the Malaysian Airlines System to Malaysia Airlines Berhad and making it profitable in 2018 or 2019 was not a realistic target. Many issues were not taken into consideration including the fundamental problems, cultural issues, and technical issues.
In September and October 2019, the media gave the news that foreign careers are interested in a partnership including Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines. In January 2020, the news came that the Air France-KLM is also interested in the partnership, by the company issue a statement on January 22, saying that they had been in contact with the company’s shareholders, but not currently.
Two non-airline groups have also shown a keen interest in acquiring the airlines. In 2019 a group met with Mahathir and proposed a turnaround plan and in March 2020, a private company, Golden Skies Ventures showed an interest in acquiring MAG.