Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has warned it may have to step up restructuring efforts after reporting a near doubling of net losses for the first half ended 30 September.

The heavily indebted carrier, which was renationalised in a controversial deal early this year, saw net losses soar to 773 million ringgit ($203 million) for the half from 400 million ringgit for the comparable period last year.

MAS has been undergoing a sweeping restructuring since the government bought back control but the carrier says now that plans may have to be reworked. A 2004 target for a return to profitability is also in doubt.

"The business environment was already weakening before the tragic events of 11 September. The situation is now highly dynamic and depending on the global environment, MAS may have to make additional changes to its turnaround programme announced in July 2001," the carrier says.

MAS has lost money for four years and has well in excess of $2 billion debt. Its current restructuring involves a reorganisation of domestic operations including fare hikes, an increased focus on regional routes in Asia, expanded partnerships with other airlines, the implementation of new revenue management systems and sweeping reductions to long-haul services.

It is thought to have recently reached agreement with Boeing to defer delivery of Boeing 747-400s and 777-200s, some to as late as 2009. The carrier has said it expects to ground eight 747-400s and 777-200s next year.

Source: Flight International