Malaysia Airlines, which was already haemorrhaging cash inthe face of intense competition, has "got a lot of work to do" recovering from thedisappearance of MH370, its CEO said Monday.The flag-carrier airline has reported hefty losses for three years running, and MH370now raises the spectre of a potential drop in bookings over safety concerns andpossible huge payouts to passengers' families."First and foremost, obviously this incident has affected the airline," CEO AhmadJauhari Yahya said during a regular MH370 press briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
"We've got a lot of work to do. The airline obviously needs to get itself together."The plane disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 227passengers and 12 crew on board.Followed intently around the world, the crisis has been a public relations disasterfor the airline, which had previously boasted a solid safety record.Relatives of the 153 Chinese passengers on board have criticised the airline andMalaysian government as "liars" and "murderers", alleging the truth was beingconcealed.Airlines can take "up to six months to recover from what we call a 'market reputationissue' and ... we intend to do that quicker," Ahmad Jauhari said.In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Sunday, he said ticket saleshad suffered after MH370, calling it "natural."But the newspaper said he did not provide specifics on sales, nor comment on howthe airline's financial results would be affected.On Monday, when he asked whether he would resign as a result of MH370, AhmadJauhari said: "As far as my own personal position, I have work to do here."Analysts have long blamed poor management, government interference, a bloatedworkforce, and powerful, change-resistant unions for preventing the airline fromremaining competitive.They say the only thing keeping the airline afloat was financial support fromMalaysia's state investment arm, which owns 70 percent of the carrier.The company announced a 1.17 billion ringgit ($360 million) loss for 2013, higherthan expected by analysts. It lost 2.5 billion ringgit and 433 million ringgit,respectively, in 2011 and 2012.A US-based law firm has said it planned to initiate "multi-million-dollar" lawsuitsagainst Malaysia Airlines and Boeing, manufacturer of the aircraft.