Even before the loss of its Flight MH370, Malaysian Airline System (MAS) was bleeding cash, prompting talk that it may need another financial rescue from state investor Khazanah Nasional, its majority shareholder.
The flag carrier's cash and short-term investments at end-December were close to $1.2 billion - less than its average operating costs of the two previous quarters, and a signal that it may soon need fresh funding or bank loans.
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MAS, Southeast Asia's fourth-largest airline by market value, has had negative operating cash flow for three years - which means it is not generating enough cash to meet its day-to-day operating costs - and has had negative free cash flow - operating cash flow minus capital expenditure - for six years.
No one has yet calculated the cost to the airline of the lost plane, which is now assumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean earlier this month with 239 passengers and crew on board. While the plane was insured, there will likely be compensation payouts to the relatives of those who died.