Will Malaysia Airlines recover from disaster? Here are 5 companies which never did

Will Malaysia Airlines recover from disaster? Here are 5 companies which never did

 James Griffiths

As rescuers continue to search for bodies at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, many are questioning whether the airline, still reeling from the disappearance of flight 370, can survive.

“There’s no historical precedent,” Mohshin Aziz, aviation analyst at Maybank,said this week. “It’s completely not their fault, but right now if you ask any customers would they fly with Malaysia Airlines, they’d just have that negative sentiment of I’d rather choose something else.”

Shares in Malaysia Airlines fell 11 per cent on Friday, a 27 per cent slide over the year. In the last financial year, the carrier lost more than HK$4 billion, even before the disappearance of the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

While it remains to be seen whether Malaysia’s main airline can weather two catastrophes in quick succession, it would not be unprecedented for a company to go under after a disaster.

1846: British and American Steam Navigation Company

A rival to the Great Western Steamship Company, which operated the first regular transatlantic steamer service from 1838 until 1846, British and American Steam went under after the SS President disappeared in March 1841 with 136 passengers and crew aboard.

“Multitudinous and conflicting rumours passed into circulation of her wreck having been seen in various places, and a thousand speculations as to the cause and certainty of a catastrophe, and the subsequent fate of those on board, kept alive the agony of those interested in her,” wrote John Kennedy in the History of Steam Navigation, anticipating the speculation that would surround the vanishing of flight MH370 more than 100 years before it took place.

2001: Trans World Airlines

Formed in 1925 as Transcontinental and Western Air, TWA was a major American airline for many decades. Along with American, United, and Eastern, TWA was one of the “Big Four” US domestic airlines formed by the Spoils Conference of 1930.

Already saddled with debt by a controversial leveraged buyout and selling off its international routes, the carrier was struck by disaster in 1996 when flight TWA 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 12 minutes after takeoff from JFK International Airport in New York, killing all 230 people on board. TWA filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by American Airlines in 2001.

2005: Entergy New Orleans

Facing huge rebuilding costs and loss of revenue in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans subsidiary of US power giant Entergy filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

The storm, which caused the deaths of at least 1,800 people, cost Entergy upwards of US$1 billion, of which US$425 million fell on the New Orleans subsidiary, according to the Associated Press.

2013: Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway

In July 2013, a train with 72 cars carrying crude petroleum derailed in the centre of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, shortly after which four cars exploded, causing massive damage to the city centre and killing at least 47 people.

The following month, MMA said it was forced to file for bankruptcy because of potential liability from the incident, Canada’s worst rail disaster since 1910. The company, which was facing multiple lawsuits said in its filing that potential claims were “sufficiently large that it would be impossible or impractical to continue as a going concern without” bankruptcy protection.

2014: Freedom Industries

Facing at least two dozen class-action lawsuits as well as state and federal probes, Freedom Industries filed for bankruptcy protection one week after a toxic leak from one of its chemical plants tainted West Virginia’s Elk River and forced 300,000 residents and businesses to go without water for several days.

According to bankruptcy documents, Freedom owed US$3.6 million to its top 20 unsecured creditors. The Inland Revenue Service also said it was owed more than US$2.4 million in unpaid taxes.

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 5:21pm

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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