Malaysia Airlines Brand Damage May Require Name Change After MH17, MH370 Incidents

  • Malaysia Airlines
    A woman takes a photograph of wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region, July 26, 2014. The carrier is now considering a name change. Reuters
  • MH17
    A part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is seen at its crash site, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014. Reuters
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Malaysia Airlines was struggling even before flight MH370 went missing in March and MH17 was shot down over Ukraine just weeks ago, but now the carrier has gone on a public relations offensive, trying to move its brand away from tragedy and it may change its name.

“As a company, Malaysia Airlines has twice been in a period of mourning this year but we will eventually overcome this tragedy and emerge stronger,” Hugh Dunleavy, the company’s commercial director, who appears to be spearheading the public relations effort, told the U.K. Telegraph.

The Malaysian government, the airline's biggest shareholder, was already looking into ways to shift the company’s business and brand, but the efforts are now speeding up after the MH17 tragedy.

“There are several options on the table but all involve creating an airline fit for purpose in what is a new era for us, and other airlines,” Dunleavy said, adding that the carrier is looking into rebranding and renaming itself, among other options.

He published an editorial Sunday in the newspaper, urging international airline companies and regulators to come together and form a new body that decides on safety regulations for flying over conflict zones.

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