KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 Malaysia Airlines Bhd on
Thursday reported a decline in passenger loads in the
traditionally slower second quarter, but said cost savings would
help it post a smaller-than-expected annual loss.
The national carrier said its load factor - or passenger
capacity used per flight - fell 0.3 percentage points from the
first quarter to 68.6 percent. It also said demand was lower -
as usual - in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that fell in
Booking patterns have since strengthened, the airline said.
It also said it expects business class loads to improve in the
last quarter of the year spurred by cabin upgrades.
"(The) group expected to record a loss for the whole fiscal
year of 2016 but significantly smaller than initially budgeted
at the beginning of the year, and ahead of the turnaround plan
for the airline to be sustainably profitable by 2018," the
airline said in a statement.
Malaysia Airlines has struggled since the disappearance of
flight MH370 and shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern
Ukraine, both in 2014. It is currently owned by Malaysian
sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
Chief Executive Officer Peter Bellew, who assumed his role
in July, said competition domestically and globally is intense
and is likely to intensify in the second half of the year.
He said the airline will increase marketing and sales
initiatives and be strict on costs in the second half of 2016.
(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)