KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, July 18 (UPI) -- Malaysia Airlines is offering passengers a full refund for their tickets for the next week, in the wake of flight MH17 being shot down over Ukrainian airspace.
The airline, facing its second tragedy in four months, saw its stock price crash sharply by 13 percent in early trading only to recover somewhat to yesterday's closing price. Passengers traveling with the airline were shocked to find that they were entitled to a full refund, even on tickets that were non-refundable.
The airline released the following statement:
"In light of the recent tragedy of MH17 on 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines will adapt the below policy effective immediately until Thursday, 24 July 2014.
"Passengers who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans can obtain a refund, including for non refundable tickets.
"Enrich passengers will also receive fee waivers for any changes to their travel itinerary, as well as refunds of miles should they choose to cancel their redemption tickets.
"These waivers are only applicable from 18 July 2014 until 24 July 2014, for travel between 18 July 2014 until 31 December 2014."
Malaysia Airlines has already seen a dip in passenger load after flight MH370 went missing in the Indian Ocean in March, leading to a first quarter loss of 443 million ringgit, or $139 million. Many passengers have chosen to fly other airlines or choose non-Malaysian destinations.
"MH370 exacerbated an already tough situation and makes it even more challenging for [Malaysian Airlines] to turn around without major changes," airline analysts CAPA said in May.
The Malaysian government is the majority stockholder in the airline, with 69 percent control. Analysts and experts have been suggesting that the dump their stake to a private player. But last month, Etihad, once thought of as an interested suitor, denied reports that it was considering buying a stake in the airline.