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Even more reason for Malaysia to review Boeing deal.

CoNet Administrator

In July last year, we said Malaysia needs to review Malaysia Airlines - Boeing deal because of political issues. Now, there's another reason to look at it.

When the then Malaysian prime minister, Najib, went to Washington (DC) there was a deal being done in Washington (Seattle). In quick succession, part of the investigation into 1MBD was dropped by the USA, a deal was signed for the order of aircraft which do not fit with MAS's existing fleet and the CEO of MAS decided to leave at short notice.

MAS is owned by state wealth fund Khazanah which has, largely, avoided being tainted with corruption matters although it has been subjected to government demands that it perform better (which backfired, say various reports).

In truth, MAS, which won an award this week, has been in decline for the best part of 20 years. Political interference, bad management and external costs plus competition on formerly high-profit routes, has driven it to a rather poor version of itself. Khazanah bought it when it failed entirely. It has beached its A380s and they are for sale: MAS saw a downturn in its traffic after MH370 was inexplicably lost five years ago and MH317 was shot down by Russian backed forces as it flew on a route used by many airlines.

The plan to move into B737-800 MAX was questionable at best and the timing was suspicious.

But now there is another question: while the USA's air regulator, the Federal Aviation Authority, is of the view that two full airliners worth of dead passengers and crew isn't enough to warrant grounding the plane, and Boeing have trotted out near identical statements to those made after the Lion Air crash, Malaysia Airlines should rethink the purchase, said Azmin Ali , Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister. "The management of Khazanah should look into the matter urgently. This is to ensure the safety of the airline, which is paramount," Ali said, according to a report in Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

He's right - and the fact that now two aircraft, each almost new, have crashed creates an imperative: do MAS really want to hitch its already falling star to falling aircraft? Surely not.

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