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AirAsia CEO addresses customer and staff concerns amid airline industry’s ‘biggest challenge’


AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes

In an open letter to customers and staff, award-winning low-cost carrier AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes talks transparency on what seems to be the downfall of the airline’s 18-year pursuit, the industry, and the people behind it.

Apart from ongoing financial commitments such as fuel suppliers and leasing agents that the airline has to pay, Tony also addresses the significant fall of revenue for the past month and grounding of 96 percent of the carrier’s fleet, crashing its anniversary plans.

In an attempt to continue being the “world’s best low-cost carrier, enabling everyone the ability to fly with our great value and service,” AirAsia stays firm on the ground as one of the few airlines to keep all staff in the loop. As part of its cost-cutting plans, however, Tony and AirAsia chairman Kamarudin Mernanun are dropping off their salaries for this period. “AirAsia is a family and there are tens of thousands of Allstars who depend on the business for their livelihoods and the wellbeing of their own families. Allstars from across the business have accepted temporary pay reductions of anywhere between 15 and 75 percent, depending on seniority, to share the impact this is having on our business. I thank them for their sacrifice and in keeping the big picture in mind as we navigate this together,” he says.

Shifting focus on customer concerns, Tony discusses credit offer policy, which allows customers unlimited change of flight dates for one year, as the only possible alternative to refunds and canceled flights due to the challenges the airline is facing. “More than 80 percent of you have accepted our credit offer and we truly appreciate this. Please know that our policy is in line with many operators in the travel industry and reflects our focus on coming out on the other side of this difficult period and flying with you again as soon as possible. We have ensured that we adhere to all regulations and requirements of respective governments and consumer authorities and believe this is the best solution.”

Requests for refunds, however, are also accommodated on a case by case basis. This may take a longer processing time between 12 and 16 weeks due to the overwhelming volume of requests, especially now that its virtual Allstar AVA serves about half a million guests each day. Those who are having a hard time approaching the AVA can contact AirAsia’s live agents through LiveChat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and WeChat 24/7.

“We are working tirelessly, around the clock, to provide assistance to each and every one of you. We’ve mobilized additional support to our customer happiness team, including 1,800 Allstars from other functions, who have rolled up their sleeves and volunteered to help,” he says. “We’ve never had a time like this before and we are doing our best. We are not always perfect but we strive to do all we can for our people and our customers at all times. This is unprecedented but it is also temporary and we will be back, stronger than before, repainting the skies red and making sure everyone can fly again.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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