AirAsia confirms near completion of refund requests caused by the pandemic


AirAsia confirms near completion of refund requests caused by the pandemic

Airlines across AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AAAGL), the aviation arm of Capital A Group, today reaffirmed their commitment to resolve all refund requests caused by the ongoing effects of the pandemic as soon as possible.

AAAGL airlines have already finalised over 99% of all customer queries and will work towards progressively settling the final 0.8% in the coming months.

The two medium to long haul affiliate airlines AirAsia X (AAX) and Thai AirAsia X (TAAX) also have firm plans in place to compensate all guests affected by the unprecedented flight disruptions over the past two years due to Covid-19, within the coming months.

At the same time, the Group pledges a commitment to continue to deliver the very best customer service through the implementation of numerous new innovations and industry leading digital technologies which will improve guest satisfaction further in the near future.

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.”

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Tony also pointed out that there is often confusion between AirAsia Aviation Group and medium to long haul affiliate airlines AirAsia X (AAX) and Thai AirAsia X (TAAX) which are separate entities.

“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.

“To date, the majority of all affected guests have received their travel vouchers (totalling over 155,000 guests) and we aim to complete the issuance of all remaining travel vouchers within the coming weeks.”

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 a credit at any time with the credit account valid for booking future travel.”

AirAsia Head of Ground Operations and Customer Happiness, Kesavan Sivanandam said “Continual improvement is one of our core values. With the huge volume of guest queries that AVA had to face in recent times, we acknowledge that there are still a lot of improvements to be made. Our dedicated team of in-house developers have been working day and night on improving AVA and we appreciate all the constructive comments and sound suggestions made by our guests on social media and our feedback channels.

“AVA has been a great addition, but she is still learning and becoming smarter over time and by handling different types of queries, AVA is continuously developing skills to serve our guests more effectively and efficiently. Just like our Allstars (AirAsia employees), she has been embedded with our ‘guest-obsessed’ commitment.

“We are constantly working on ways to service our guests faster and better, leveraging big data to support not only our airline customers but also our super app guests – which are close to 50 million unique visitors a month now.

“While AVA hasn’t been perfect for everyone, she has greatly improved over recent times.  AVA was implemented just before the pandemic started in December 2019 when she was handling initially around 40% of basic customer queries. By the end of 2020, during the peak period, she had already dealt with 45 million queries since Covid-19 hit hard earlier that year, and she was successfully handling up to 80% of customer queries on the spot at that time. In 2020 AVA was dealing with up to 5681 requests every hour or 95 requests every minute on average. 

“Fast forward to between January to 24 May 2022,  she is now handling 87% of guest queries with a satisfaction rate of 84% which is very high in industry standards.

“However, where AVA might still fall short, our live agents are available to serve our guests. For more complex queries that AVA cannot assist with immediately, she refers guests to a live agent to handle. We are aware some of the wait times to speak to a live agent have been longer than we would like over the recent peak periods due to the huge surge in volume which affected all airlines. However with the pandemic moving to an endemic phase, we expect standard wait times to be significantly reduced in the future.

“With digital innovation in our DNA,  AVA’s product scope, depth of service handling, ease of communicating and her dexterity will be taken to the next level of industry leading self service, handling many millions of guest queries a year for AirAsia flights and super app lifestyle products. However, at the same time, we understand the importance of striking the right balance with human interaction for any complex matters that require further support and that won’t be compromised as we continue to revolutionise our products and services.”

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