Malaysia Airlines has been left reeling from two major disasters in 2014 that have cost the lives of 537 passengers and crew, and frightened passengers away from the airline that in terms of lives lost, previously had one of the cleanest records in the airline industry.
Reports of Malaysia Airlines flights taking off with row upon row of empty seats have been circulating online for several weeks, with passengers sometimes snapping pictures of the barren aircraft and posting them on various social media platforms.
The above shot, taken on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH146 on August 14 — a flight from Melbourne, Australia, to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur — by passenger Leanne Marotta has become perhaps the iconic viral photo to illustrate Malaysia Airlines’ current economic struggles.
But there is good news for travelers. To combat the skittishness many passengers now experinece at the mere mention of the name “Malaysia Airlines,” the carrier is offering lowered fares on some flights.
The Mashable site found that the airline’s Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight — the route that was scheduled for the vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 — has recently sold for $238, while other carriers typically charge more than twice as much for that fare.
The Inquisitr checked out flights from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur and found that of 26 airlines flying passengers between the two cities, Malaysia Airlines’ round-trip fare of $1,082 — flying on weekdays — was the third lowest, beaten only by Cathay Pacific and China Airlines. And of 31 airlines flying between London’s Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines offered the 6th-lowest fare.
Marotta said there were only about 60 people on her flight to Kuala Lumpur, but that the flight itself went smoothly and the on-board service was “fantastic.”
“Very sad (that) people won’t fly,” she said on her Twitter account.
Malaysia Airlines, of course, suffered two major disasters in the first seven months of 2014. On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished from radar and more than five months later not a trace of the Boeing 727 has been found. Investigators believe the plane flew thousands of miles off course and now rests somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile as it flew over an area of eastern Ukraine occupied by pro-Russian rebels. The 298 lives lost in the shootdown make it the 8th-worst commercial aviation disaster in history.
There were 239 passengers and crew on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. They are all presumed dead, making that plane’s disappearance the 19th-worst commercial aviation disaster ever.
Prior to the catastrophes of 2014, Malaysia Airlines received high ratings for safety. In a study of 448 airlines, Airlineratings.com awarded Malaysia Airlines as “6” rating, with “7” being the highest possible.
Malaysia Airlines experienced only two major accidents prior to 2014: a 1977 hijacking that resulted in a crash killing 100 people, and a 1995 crash of a propeller-powered plane on a domestic flight that killed 34 of the 49 on board, and was attributed to pilot error.