AirAsia has announced that it will resume domestic flights in Malaysia starting from 29 April 2020 onwards. This is after putting most of its operations into temporary hibernation since as early as 20 March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Movement Control Order which caused the low-cost airline to lose majority of its customers.
However, this does not mean that AirAsia will fly to all of its domestic destinations immediately. The airlines stated that it will resume the operations starting with key domestic routers first before gradually expanding the availability further depending on how the government eases up travel restrictions.
Nevertheless, bookings are already open right now through AirAsia’s official website. Based on my quick check, destinations that are available on 29 April includes Penang, Kota Bharu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri, Sibu, and of course, Kuala Lumpur:
AirAsia is advising passengers that are planning to travel with the airline soon to adopt precautionary measures including wearing mask, social distancing, and high personal hygiene. The airline also stated that its aircrafts are fitted with hospital-standard HEPA filters and will be sent for disinfection after each flight.
Aside from Malaysia, AirAsia Group will also resume its domestic flights in Thailand, Philippines, India and Indonesia within May 2020. However, the status for AirAsia X international service in Malaysia and Thailand is not yet known at the moment.
Now, comes the question: should you rush to book the flights now? Well, maybe not so fast since at the moment, it is still too early to know whether MCO will really end on 28 April 2020. If the MCO extends, not only that your flight could ended up being cancelled but you might be facing difficulties in obtaining refunds from AirAsia because the company is providing on case-by-cases basis.
Some customers have even reached out directly to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and demanded the agency to intervene directly. This lead to some response from AirAsia but there are still no positive end results yet:
Even if you some able to wrestle refunds from the airline, it might take between 3 to 4 months to be processed due to high number of requests as per what its Group CEO, Tony Fernandes has pointed out in this message. This is despite the directive from MAVCOM which stated that remittance of refunds should be completed within 60 days.
Then again, MAVCOM has stated in another FAQ that COVID-19 is considered as an “extraordinary circumstances” and that the refund options are “airlines commercial decision“.
So, unless you are really confident that MCO will not be extended, I do recommend you to hold off any travel plan with AirAsia until the situation has been fully resolved. That is, of course, you have no problem waiting for months for your refunds or willing to take AirAsia’s credit offer.