AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes has promised the airline “will continue to settle all outstanding refund requests as soon as possible.”
In an exclusive statement to AirlineRatings.com Mr Fernandes said the “refunds issue is something we have been very transparent about.
“When you have 220 planes on the ground and you’re not owned by the government nor any benefactor, my number one job is to keep the airline alive.
“It wasn’t just passengers we couldn’t pay immediately, but the aim is that it’s better to have AirAsia alive rather than dead.
“So at least by delaying payments, we were able to survive and now we are operating again, we are paying back our guests.
“AirAsia Group has paid back nearly everyone, the majority of our guests decided to take a credit shell to help us. AirAsia has opened the world to many people so they said, `ok’, you are having problems so we will take a credit shell.”
“Whilst the majority of guests have accepted a credit shell, AirAsia will continue to settle all outstanding refund requests as soon as possible.”
“In our case, there’s a confusion between AirAsia and AirAsia X. AAX was in a much more difficult situation. However, importantly we will make good to all of our guests as soon as possible.”
AirAsia X recently announced vouchers for everyone with outstanding credit valid for five years.
“Like anything the majority have been amazing. It’s better we are alive so at least you have a chance to get something back. If we go bust then that money has gone already,” said Mr Fernandes.
The AirAsia Group said:
“AirAsia sincerely thanks its valued guests for their patience and understanding during what has been the most tumultuous time in aviation history. Handling the sheer volume of customer queries when we were flying up to 100 million passengers a year has been no easy feat.
“However we continue to do all we can. AirAsia Group remains committed to resolving all outstanding entitlements to guests as soon as possible.
“AirAsia Group’s policies are in line with many low-cost operators in the travel industry worldwide and are fully compliant with all regulatory requirements in each of the regions we operate in.
The Group has spoken to over five million guests since the pandemic began and has resolved the vast majority of the queries relating to cancelled flights by issuing credit accounts, refunds or moving guests to other flights.”
“Guests are encouraged to accept a credit account which will be provided on the same day of application, valid for future travel bookings, two years from the issuance date.
“Similar to a number of other low-cost airlines, refunds will generally take longer due to the prolonged effect of the Covid-19 crisis, and the fact that AirAsia has had very limited opportunities to operate over the past two years.
“AirAsia has resolved over 99 per cent of all customer entitlements during the pandemic, in the form of a flight refund or credit.
“However, we understand the frustration and challenges for guests who are still waiting for refunds. We keep guests updated frequently with emails regarding their refund status and guests are also able to check the status of their refund 24/7 via AVA, our AI chatbot.
“We thank the majority of guests who have chosen to take a credit account for future travel. This process is immediate and provides maximum flexibility with validity for booking travel two years in advance, which is longer than many other airline credits.”
AirAsia X has recently resumed services between KL and Sydney and plans to add additional services to Australia in the near future.
AirAsia Indonesia has confirmed it will be resuming daily operations between Perth and Bali commencing 15 May 2022 and also plans additional services in the future to and from Perth.