Malaysia Airlines posts third quarter loss on high fuel costs

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Flag carrier Malaysia Airlines said Monday it recorded its third straight quarterly loss in the three months to September due to high fuel costs and a weak ringgit.

The airline reported a net loss of 375 million ringgit (S$117 million dollars) in the third quarter.

It blamed increased competition, higher expenses due to the weakening of the ringgit against the dollar and increased charges at overseas airports.

The airline said higher overflying charges, an intensive advertising programme and increased financing costs also contributed to the loss.

For the nine months ended September the airline registered a net loss of 830 million ringgit, but recorded a positive cash flow from operations of 555 million ringgit.

It carried 12.5 million passengers from January-September, up 29 per cent from the previous year.

The poor results come at a time when the carrier is embroiled in a dispute with its cabin crew union, after its president was suspended for calling on airline CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahaya to quit for alleged failure to address the crew's plight.

Mr Ahmad Jauhari said that in July-September, the carrier saw traffic increase 37 per cent.

"This contributed to a 13 per cent increase in operating revenue to 3.8 billion ringgit. However, intensifying competition and new competitors with additional capacity in the market has put pressure on pricing, which affected yield," he said.