(CNN) – The loss of a second Boeing 777 jetliner in 131 days threatens Malaysia Airlines with another public relations and financial blow as it struggles to overcome industry and consumer fallout after the disappearance of Flight 370.
On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 — a 777 heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur — crashed in eastern Ukraine, according to reports from the Russian news agency Interfax.
Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it lost contact with the flight — coded MH17. Its last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.
The plane reportedly went down near the border between Russia and Ukraine, a region where political tensions have been rising.
Searchers are apparently no closer to solving the mystery surrounding the Malaysia AIrlines flight which went missing March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew.
This month, the airline’s main shareholder was considering restructuring the operation and taking it private, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Journal used the words “turn around” and “resuscitate” to describe the strategy.
In the weeks following the disappearance of Flight 370, some family members of passengers were harshly critical of Malaysia Airlines and Malaysian aviation authorities regarding the investigation.
Family members accused airline officials of not offering information about how they responded immediately after the plane went missing. In the months that followed, they expressed distrust of the airline and Malaysia’s government.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted Thursday that Malaysia is launching an immediate investigation into the loss of MH17.
In April the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered American airlines to avoid airspace over Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov because the region poses the “potential for conflicting air traffic control instructions from Ukrainian and Russian authorities and … the misidentification of civil aircraft. …”
It’s unknown if Malaysian aviation officials issued a similar warning.
The airline still faces possible lawsuits from family members that could total millions of dollars.
Boeing’s twin-engine 777 boasts an excellent safety record and is among the most sophisticated airliners flying today. Its capacity is between 300 and 450 passengers and a range of about 5,700 miles.
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