LONDON: AirAsia X Sdn Bhd (AirAsia X) is making arrangements for at least 30,000 cancelled online bookings following the low-cost carrier’s withdrawal from London, Paris and India, its chairman, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, said.
Though the costs for this exercise had not been disclosed, Rafidah said the withdrawals had curtailed the dimensions of losses already felt by AirAsia X long-haul routes following escalating oil prices and government taxes.
As promised, the budget airline announced that all passengers, who hold bookings to the destinations, would be offered an alternative travel option at no additional cost to mitigate the inconvenience caused from the route withdrawals.
An e-mail stating available options would be sent to the affected passengers, including a full refund, a re-route to another AirAsia X destination (in Australia and North Asia) or move to an alternative carrier where available.
Rafidah also said any possibility for AirAsia X’s return in the future had not been written off as the budget airline’s strategy for Europe in the future remained open as she said nobody had expected for the frills-free airline to fly long-haul in the first place.
“Having said that, what happens in the distant time to come, we cannot tell, but what we can say is in the foreseeable future is as what it has been announced,” she told a media conference after delivering a keynote address at the 2012 United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students’ Annual Summit at Marble Arch.
Despite the cancellations, the former international trade and industry minister said AirAsia still remained as the away jersey kit sponsor for the London football club, Queens Park Rangers, owned by the airline’s founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. The sponsorship deal was until the end of the 2012/2013 football season.
“When our sponsorship ends, the board will have to make a decision,” the former International Trade and Industry Minister said.
Commenting on reports highlighting the disappointment of Malaysian students and frequent AirAsia travellers to Europe, Rafidah said what happened was unfortunate and what was done was in the business best interest.
“When a business strategy is not working, we’ve to resolve it, which we did with many early warnings,” she added. — Bernama