Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS), the government-owned flag carrier of Malaysia, has reported a net loss of 1.28 billion ringgit ($426 million) in the three months ended in December, subsequent to the rising fuel prices.

This is the fourth straight quarterly loss resulting in full-year loss of 2.5 billion ringgit ($850 million).

The company is in crisis, Malaysian Air chairman Md Nor Md Yusof said. The results make for unpleasant reading. The board and I are confident that we now have a team and business plan in place that will bring the necessary sacrifices to ensure a turnaround, he added.

In 2010, it had reported a net profit of 225 million ringgit and sales of 3.66 billion ringgit. Chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said that group expenditure had gone up by 21 percent mainly due to higher fuel costs. The fuel bill for 2011 had increased by 33 percent, to 5.85 billion ringgit from 4.38 billion ringgit a year earlier.

“The bottom-line group losses for 2011 underscore the need for MAS to adopt strong measures to stop the bleeding, and they include staff redeployment, increasing productivity and efficiency, relentless cost control and making further route review,'' Ahmad said.

He added that so far the airline had implemented 9 percent route cuts.