In a video posted on AirAsia’s official Facebook page, airline boss Tony Fernandes promised that the company will honour refund requests while making a plea for more time.
He said the company still hasn’t paid 450,000 customers, but will do so eventually. Since January last year, the airline claimed that it had refunded 1.5 million people and given credit accounts (or credit shells) to another 2.9 million.
Fernandes said taking credit shells is the “best support” anyone could give him and to his AirAsia staff. This is unsurprisingly consistent with his previous messaging in which he urged customers to accept store credit instead of refunds.
He urged those waiting for refunds to be patient, noting that the airline hadn’t flown in a year and hadn’t received financial support like many “government airlines” – likely a veiled slight at Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
“COVID is not our fault. We’re not bad people,” Fernandes said.
He claimed that the airline is striving to keep as many of its staff employed, noting that it had to let go 10% of its staff while cutting pay for and furloughing many others.
Fernandes also spoke on the dire state of AirAsia X, stating that the company was in “deep, deep financial difficulty”. While he said the airline – which is a separate entity from AirAsia – is also “committed to paying everyone back”, he emphasised that he was using the video mainly to address refunds for the main airline.
Ticket refunds have bedeviled AirAsia since the COVID-19 pandemic grounded its planes in 2020. The Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (MAVCOM) latest consumer report saw the company recording the highest number of complaints among local airlines, driven by dissatisfaction over refunds.
(Source: AirAsia / Facebook.)