AirAsia told to refund airfares for cancelled flight

Photo: Bernama

KUCHING: The Transport Ministry (MOTS) has urged AirAsia Berhad to refund all airfares to passengers who had purchased tickets for the cancelled flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sibu scheduled for January 3.

Its Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the cancellation of the said flight had caused unnecessary inconveniences to the public.

He informed that both the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and MOTS have sought explanation on the matter from AirAsia Berhad and both were duly informed through an email dated January 3 that due to their internal inadvertent oversight, the aforementioned flight was erroneously opened for sale to the public.

“The ministry had weighed the gravity of this matter and considered that this incident was indeed very unfair to the public. We hope this kind of mistake will not be repeated in the future,” he said in a statement issued today (Jan 5).

He revealed it was also stated in the email that AirAsia Berhad is now prioritising in taking care of all passengers booked on the flight and are being provided with the necessary service recovery options.

“In reply to our stance, AirAsia Berhad had also informed SDMC and MOTS that immediate measures are being taken to make sure that this incident will not occur in the future and had given the assurance that only approved flights by SDMC and MOTS will be operated into Sarawak,” he added.

Based on the approved flight schedule and frequency, Lee assured that there is no flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sibu on January 3 and that SDMC and MOTS have never approved such a flight schedule.

“More importantly, the planning of flight schedule and frequency from Sarawak into Sabah and vice versa are being given special attention taking cognizance of the current situation of Covid-19 in Sabah.

“It must be highlighted that MOTS had on December 31 published in the local newspapers the detail of the schedule and frequency of flights going into and out of Sarawak as well as within Sarawak. This is to make sure that the public have sufficient information to properly plan their journey.

“Another very important reason is that during the current Covid-19 situation, efforts are being made by the state government to contain the spread of the virus in the state. We trust that the public are fully aware of this matter and hence only book their flights based on the approved flight schedule,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lee also took the opportunity to remind all airlines operating flights into and out of Sarawak, as well as within Sarawak to comply strictly with the flight schedule and frequency that had been approved by SDMC and MOTS.