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  • MH17    July 18 
Passengers are already avoiding Malaysia Airlines
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

With the downing of Flight 17 over Ukraine on Thursday, Malaysia Airlines has lost two Boeing 777s and 537 people in the course of six months. "A double tragedy of this nature after such a short period is unheard of in the industry,'' Vivian Lines, a crisis-management expert, told The Wall Street Journal. "They were the wrong airline in the wrong place at the wrong time.''

Passengers are understandably spooked. They are already taking steps to avoid flying Malaysia Airlines, according to The New York Times:

The financial penalty on Malaysia Airlines seemed clear on Friday morning when two planes, one from Cathay Pacific and one from Malaysia Airlines, left Hong Kong International Airport five minutes apart, both bound for Kuala Lumpur. The Cathay Pacific flight was sold out in every class of service, and was so overbooked that the airline took the unusual step of calling at least one passenger at home the night before and telling him that he had been involuntarily bounced to the flight operated by Malaysia Airlines, with which Cathay Pacific has a shared marketing code.

By contrast, the Malaysia Airlines flight was at least one-third empty. [The New York Times]

Even before Flight 370 disappeared mysteriously in March, the airline's parent company was struggling, losing $139.5 million in the first quarter, up significantly from the previous year.

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