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Malaysia Airlines 'aggressively hedging' as carrier sees oil at US$70 per barrel
[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia Airlines Bhd projects oil prices will increase to about US$70 a barrel toward the end of this year and has aggressive fuel hedging in place as the money-losing national carrier seeks to return to profitable operations.
"At the moment we are hedged about 65 per cent of the current year at about a little bit north of US$60," chief executive officer Peter Bellew said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Haidi Lun on Friday.
"We are quite aggressively hedging 12 months ahead on a quarter-to-quarter basis and taking a fairly prudent approach to it."
Malaysia Airlines is projecting a return to what Mr Bellew calls "more consistent profitability" in 2018 following an expected loss this year as it fills a larger portion of seats amid demand from markets leading with China.
The ringgit's depreciation against the US dollar since Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November is a big concern for Malaysia Airlines, the CEO said.
The Malaysian currency - which has weakened more than 5 per cent since the US election - may strengthen over the next six to nine months, helping to bolster the carrier's earnings, Mr Bellew said.
Crude oil futures were trading at US$52.76 a barrel as of 11.13am in Singapore.
Demand for seats on Malaysia Airlines plunged after the carrier lost two planes in 2014, with one vanishing over the Indian Ocean and another shot down over Ukraine.