AirAsia temporarily suspends flights, cut off top executives salary

AirAsia temporarily suspends flights, cut off top executives salary

PUCHONG: On Thursday, AirAsia announced that it is temporarily hibernating most of its fleet across the network due to COVID-19 pandemic, that has led to extensive and increasing border restrictions imposed by various countries.

In the statement issued on Thursday, AirAsia said it would be temporarily parking most of its fleet as a consequence of the staggering drop in demand and austere governmental travel restrictions.

As governments across the Asian continent scramble to keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay, the airline group is canceling all but a few international and domestic flights in Malaysia and will operate a heavily reduced domestic route schedule in Thailand. 

AirAsia said that all passengers scheduled to fly during this period would be given the option to convert their booking into a credit account valid for one year or to change their tickets an unlimited number of times without fee. It also said that the company’s management had offered to take a pay-cut to help keep the airline afloat and support its staff.

Nearly full suspension of service

The dates for the flight suspensions look slightly different across the AirAsia subsidiaries: 

  • AirAsia Malaysia (AK) temporarily suspend all international and domestic flights from March 28, 2020 till April 21, 2020.

  • AirAsia Philippines (Z2) temporarily suspend all international and domestic flights from March 20, 2020 till April 14, 2020 during the community quarantine period in Luzon, as well as in other parts of the country.

  • AirAsia Thailand (FD) temporarily suspend all international flights from March 22, 2020 till April 25, 2020 domestic operations continue at reduced frequency.

  • AirAsia Indonesia (QZ) significantly reduce international flights frequency and domestic operations continue reduced frequency.

  • AirAsia India (I5) temporarily suspend all flights from March 25, 2020 for 21 days adhering to the government suspension of all domestic flights (I5 only flies domestic routes).

  • AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) temporarily suspend most flights from March 28, 2020 till May 31, 2020 (D7 only flies international routes).

  • AirAsia X Thailand (XJ) temporarily suspend all flights from March 16, 2020 for a period of 3 months, DMK-ICN suspended till April 19, 2020 (XJ only flies international routes).

“With governments imposing travel and movement restrictions including home quarantine orders, AirAsia is also playing its part in helping curb the spread of the virus in order to keep flying safe for everyone.

“We will continue to evaluate the situation closely and we are prepared to reinstate our services as soon as the situation improves, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals,” it said in a statement.

All affected guests are being immediately notified by email and SMS.

The passengers have the option of converting their flight booking into a credit account, that is valid for future redemption for 365 days or moving their flights for an unlimited number of times, without any charges to another date prior to October 31, 2020.

Guests can perform these changes via AirAsia virtual Allstar AVA on airasia.com or support.airasia.com.

“Guests are advised to stay tuned to Travel Advisories issued by AirAsia from time to time on airasia.com and social media platforms,” it said.

“We believe this temporary fleet hibernation is the right thing to do to ensure the well-being of our guests and employees, which will remain as the top priority of our business during this challenging time,” it added.

In a bid to manage and contain costs, both the management and senior employees of AirAsia Group have volunteered a salary sacrifice, ranging from 100% at the very top to 15%.

“This will help ensure that we can ride out this prolonged period of extremely low travel demand and at the same time minimise the impact on our employees, especially those in junior positions,” it said.

AirAsia Group also stated that they will remain committed to assisting the relevant government authorities to support the repatriation of travellers and shipment of goods.

AirAsia’s online marketplace OURSHOP, its cargo and logistics platform Teleport will remain operational, with Teleport utilising passenger aircraft to transport medical aid and protective equipment intended for hospitals and frontline emergency responders at selected destinations.

By S Jeevita