MYAirline service suspension 'irresponsible', says Transport Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The suspension of the MYAirline operation on Thursday (Oct 12) has affected about 125,000 passengers who bought air tickets worth RM20mil in total, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

He said it was irresponsible of MYAirline to suspend its operation without first notifying either the Transport Ministry or the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

ALSO READ: Airlines come to the rescue of stranded MYAirline passengers

Loke said he, his ministry and the Mavcom were caught by surprise when they heard of the news that MYAirline had decided to suspend its operation at 6am this morning.

"We were caught by surprise. We were totally shocked. They (MYAirline) didn’t even inform us or Mavcom.

"MYAirline just disappeared. They stopped operating, the flights didn’t fly and their employees were also not around at the airport, causing passengers to be left in total confusion.

ALSO READ: MYAirline suspends operations from Oct 12, Mavcom to assist ticketholders

"This is very irresponsible of them and we will pursue this matter. They must refund all of the affected passengers.

"As a responsible airline, you should have informed us, and not just abruptly stopped operations like this," he said during a press conference at the Parliament lobby here on Thursday.

According to Loke, MYAirline has sold flight tickets to passengers up until March next year, adding that today’s messy affair is affecting the country’s image as some of the people who bought the tickets are foreign travellers.

Loke said he has instructed Mavcom to set up a task force to resolve the matter, especially on finding the best method to ensure all affected passengers would get their refunds.

ALSO READ: Passengers want MYAirline to take responsibility for flight cancellations

"Many of them bought the tickets using credit cards so right now, we are looking into cooperating with Bank Negara Malaysia to see if they (the bank) can make the refund since the service has not been rendered yet instead of waiting for the airline.

"For those who bought the tickets directly, we want to make sure the refunds will be done as soon as possible."

Loke said an emergency meeting would be held by the ministry and Mavcom to determine the status of MYAirline’s Air Service License (ASL).

"What we heard was that they (the airline) was looking for new investors but even if they manage to find new investors, that doesn’t mean the (current) license is still valid.

"We will decide what to do with the license. They should have come to us first. Even their employees have complained that they have not received salaries yet," he added.

Loke said the Transport Ministry took the matter seriously, adding that it would also take necessary actions against MYAirline for making an "unacceptable" decision to suspend its operation.

Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kassim who was present during the press conference said the commission had contacted MYAirline on Thursday morning and demanded an explanation from the company.

Loke at the same time expressed sympathy to affected passengers, saying that the ministry would do its best to resolve the issue.

"The airline never said anything to us. Even worse, there wasn’t even a notification. We will do everything possible to make sure those affected will be refunded," he said.

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