Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 16): Cash-strapped MYAirline Sdn Bhd has pledged to refund the 125,000 passengers who had purchased tickets with the low-cost airline prior to its flight suspension last Thursday, saying this will be done once it secures potential investors and gets new funding.

Total refunds are estimated at RM22 million, based on ticket sales.

"We acknowledge our error and understand the frustration experienced by our passengers [since the suspension]. We may have lost the trust of our passengers. We admit there was a lack of contingencies due to the 11th hour pullout from a potential investor," MYAirline's interim accountable executive and director Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a press conference on Monday — the first since the airline announced a suspension to its operations last Thursday. He declined to name the potential investor.

"We also acknowledge our communication shortcomings with both the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), specifically our failure to engage with the authorities and passengers in a timelier manner, before deciding to temporarily suspend our operations.

"The abrupt action was taken out of a genuine concern for the safety of our passengers and employees on a flight that operated from Wednesday night to early Thursday morning. We had issued the suspension notice at 0530 hours on Thursday morning (Oct 12)," he said.

"While we had promptly cancelled the morning wave flights on Thursday, we acknowledge that some passengers on later flights were already at the airport, and this was an oversight on our part," Azharuddin added.

All affected passengers are told to contact MYAirline at [email protected] to initiate the refund process. It has also set up a hotline at 03-8966 2522, operational from 7am to 6pm daily, to facilitate the refund process and provide assistance as needed.

“The refund process will depend on when we can close a deal with potential investors. Once we get the money, they [passengers] will get the refund,” Azharuddin said, adding that MYAirline has been proactively addressing the issue through a series of meetings and making ongoing efforts to rectify errors in all areas as the airline strives to restore normal operations.

Asked if there is a timeframe before the affected passengers will get their refunds, he said: “That one I cannot promise."

Likewise, Azharuddin said MYAirline's staff will receive their prioritised statutory payments and September salaries once a new investor is secured and funding is obtained. MYAirline currently employs more than 900 people.

He maintained that all employees remain under MYAirline employment. “All staff are still under MYAirline's employment. No one has been placed under unpaid leave or terminated. We have met the Ministry of Human Resource to update them on this matter,” he added.

Asked how much the airline needs to pay back all salaries and refunds to restart its flight operations, Azharuddin said: “Millions."

On who the potential investors MYAirline is speaking to are, he said: "I cannot tell you... because we have to be very careful after what has happened (the 11th hour withdrawal from an interested investor last week), to make sure that they genuinely come and invest. We don't want people to talk and then pull out at the last minute again. We have to be very careful this time."

"Insya-Allah (God willing), we will issue all the refunds and pay our employees' salaries this year," Azharuddin said.

Edited ByTan Choe Choe
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