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Malaysia budget carrier MYAirline abruptly suspends operations; rival airlines step in to help passengers

KUALA LUMPUR: Following the abrupt suspension of service by Malaysian budget carrier MYAirline on Thursday (Oct 12), rival airlines have stepped in to offer special ticket fares to affected passengers.

Among them include AirAsia, which has announced a 50 per cent discount on base fares for affected passengers with confirmed flight bookings. Batik Air has also provided “one-way all-inclusive special fixed fares” for travel until Nov 30 this year, subject to seating availability, reported the Malay Mail. 

AirAsia has also reportedly offered job opportunities to affected MYAirline staff members.

“We are pleased to consider hiring eligible and qualified individuals from MYAirline who share our passion for the industry and are willing to contribute their skills and expertise to our team.

“We encourage affected MYAirline staff to reach out to us and explore the possibilities of joining our Allstars family,” said Mr Bo Lingam Kanagalingam, AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd’s chief executive officer (CEO). 

Earlier, Bernama reported that MYAirline has suspended its operations effective Thursday until further notice due to significant financial pressures.

The low-cost airline said it has come to this “extremely painful decision” because of financial pressures that have made it necessary to suspend operations pending the shareholder restructuring and recapitalisation of the airline.

“We deeply regret and apologise for having to make this decision as we understand the impact it will have on our loyal passengers, dedicated employees and partners. “We have worked tirelessly to explore various partnership and capital-raising options to prevent this suspension. Unfortunately, the constraints of time have left us with no alternative but to take this decision,” its board of directors said.

MYAirline said that it would be committed to assisting those impacted by the situation and has advised affected passengers not to head to the airport, and instead seek alternative travel arrangements to their destinations.

“Kindly reach out to us at customercare [at] myairline.my, and our support team will be readily available to provide their assistance,” it reportedly said. 

MYAirline also said the board, shareholders and MYAirline will work tirelessly to resume operations as quickly as possible but at this stage, the airline is unable to commit to any timeline.

“We reiterate our sincerest apologies for any difficulty and inconvenience arising from this suspension and will do our utmost to provide any updates which become available,” it was quoted as saying by Bernama. 

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The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) said on Thursday that MYAirline must refund consumers who have purchased tickets and are affected by this abrupt suspension. 

On Wednesday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said MYAirline will need to come to the ministry through Mavcom and present any issues it faces to the commission first before the agency could provide any assistance.

Prior to this, local media reported that the low-cost carrier is believed to be close to securing a new investor, potentially Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Tun Openg’s son, Abang Abdillah Izzarim Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari, due to financial struggles faced by the airline.

This came after the airline’s chief executive officer Rayner Teo tendered his resignation last week, citing health reasons.

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