LONDON – The time is here for customers who are awaiting refunds to be paid by Air Asia Aviation Group amidst an issue that has been ongoing for two years.
Airlines under the management of AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AAAGL), which is an aviation brand of Capital A group, have reasserted that they complete the process of all refund requests from valued customers, due to the coronavirus pandemic in due course.
As of the time of writing, airlines under AAAGL have already completed over 99% of all refund requests from customers. The airline group reiterates that the remaining 0.8% will be resolved in due course.
Why is it hard to process such refunds?
Air Asia’s long-haul low-cost carrier Air Asia X, Malaysian based and Thai AirAsiaX (TAAC), Thai base, have found it extremely difficult to pay its refund to customers. This is because these two long-haul arms haven’t been flying at all for the past 2 years.
Therefore, refunds for tickets booked on these two airlines are expected to be much slower than Air Asia, as they have been doing domestic flights within Malaysia and Thailand.
Despite the process taking over 2 years, it could be said that they have been doing an excellent job in keeping the customers happy despite the headwinds still facing the industry.
With borders re-opening, especially in the APAC region, the airline’s long-haul arm is expected to re-fly again. Recently, Thai Air Asia X have started regular flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Seoul, Incheon and Tokyo Narita with incredible load factors.
It is expected that long-haul low-cost travel will recover more slowly than regional low-cost travel reflected in the time frame of refunds. The ability of airlines to refund their customer reflects the situation of their cash flow.
Not only consumers are happy about the refunds, the group’s management team are also relieved about the progress of completing refunds to customers.
Capital A Group CEO Tony Fernandes said “AirAsia airlines have already paid back nearly everyone. AirAsia has opened the world to so many people and the majority of our guests decided to take a credit shell to help us which we thank them for.”
“Now that travel restrictions have been removed substantially in our major markets, we saw that many of our guests have already utilised their credit shells to start travelling again.”
“AAX was in a much more difficult situation with international borders closed, so they were completely grounded for over two years with limited cash flow coming in during that period.”
“However, now that they are flying again, they are also paying their guests with outstanding credit back, with travel vouchers equivalent to the amount owed.”
“Our other medium/long haul affiliate airline, Thai AirAsia X (TAAX) was similarly affected by the pandemic and is also working hard to settle all outstanding guest entitlements in the near future.”
AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said “It’s great to be back in the air after two long years in hibernation. We have resumed flights to Sydney, Delhi and Seoul already and are planning to announce a number of new routes in the near future to our most popular destinations and even more.
“We understand the frustration from our guests who were waiting for reimbursement caused by flight cancellations during the pandemic.”
“However, we are ensuring they get back what they paid for future use, in the form of full credits for such amounts paid, by way of travel vouchers.
“Under the terms of the scheme of arrangement that was sanctioned by the High Court further to our recent debt restructuring, we are legally restricted from making any cash refunds to our guests.”
“However, AAX is pleased to extend credits by way of travel vouchers to our guests, which are redeemable with immediate effect.”
“These travel vouchers are valid for five years and may be used for future travel to any of our medium to long haul destinations which will continue to be increased and made available throughout this year and beyond.”
Thai AirAsia X CEO Patima Jeerapaet, said “Thai AirAsia X has recently resumed flights connecting Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) to Seoul, South Korea since 1 June. We have witnessed a very strong response for the route, with flights averaging over 90% full to date.”
“The results are a strong affirmation that the tourism revival is here and it is also a great time for guests with credit to start travelling once again. The carrier plans to start flying to Tokyo, Japan in July and then to Sapporo and Osaka by the final quarter of the year.
“Thai AirAsia X is processing requests for guests who requested a refund during the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with its rehabilitation plan and gradual resumption of operations.”
“Passengers are welcome to change their refund request to credit at any time with the credit account valid for booking future travel.”
Throughout the pandemic, the airline has also been focusing on improving digitalisation and enhancing customer service.