KUCHING: AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes is encouraging passengers to accept the airline’s credit offer as a good alternative to cash refund.
“I know many of you have expressed frustration with not receiving a refund for your flights but I encourage you to accept a credit as a good alternative. More than 80 per cent of you have accepted our credit offer and we truly appreciate this.
“Please know that our policy is in line with many operators in the travel industry and reflects our focus on coming out the other side of this difficult period and flying with you again as soon as possible,” he said in a message yesterday, addressing the travel cancellations due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Tony said the airline believes this is the best solution as they have ensured that they adhere to all regulations and requirements of respective governments and consumer authorities.
However, requests for refunds will also be considered.
“While we strongly encourage you to accept the credit which is instant and comes with a 365-day validity and allows you to change your flight date for an unlimited number of times, we do accept requests for refund on a case by case basis.
“However, due to the overwhelming number of requests that we have received, it may take a long process of between 12 to 16 weeks,” he said.
Tony acknowledged that airline industry has been hit hard and AirAsia has not been exempted.
“This is possibly the biggest challenge we have ever had to face. We have no revenue coming in, 96 per cent of our fleet is grounded and we still have significant ongoing financial commitments such as fuel suppliers and leasing agents.
“We are doing everything possible to reduce costs during this time so we can come back fighting as fast as possible and continue to be the world’s best low-cost carrier, enabling everyone the ability to fly with our great value and service,” he said.
He added that they are one of the few airlines world over who has kept all of their staff on, as AirAsia is a family with tens of thousands of Allstars who depend on the business for their livelihoods and the well being of their own families.
Tony also shared that he and co-founder Datuk Kamarudin Meranun will not be taking a salary during this period and Allstars from across the business have accepted temporary pay reductions of anywhere between 15 per cent and 75 per cent, depending on seniority, to share the impact this is having on the business.
“In spite of all these challenges, I want to assure you that AirAsia is strong and remains firmly focused on the future and serving you, our guests. I also want to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you for your loyalty to AirAsia and I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and well throughout this trying time.
“I’m truly sorry that many of your travel plans have been affected. Like all airlines, AirAsia had no choice but to cancel a large number of flights due to government restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
Tony also acknowledged the comments on their virtual Allstar AVA and assured that the team takes all feedback seriously and is making improvements to the system daily.
“Currently, our team and AVA are handling 10 times the normal volume of queries, which is now at about half a million guests on a daily basis.
“We are working tirelessly, around the clock, to provide assistance to each and every one of you. We’ve mobilised additional support to our customer happiness team, including 1,800 Allstars from other functions, who have rolled up their sleeves and volunteered to help, so more live agents are available to assist you via our LiveChat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WeChat 24/7,” he said.