MOTS urges AirAsia to refund airfares of unapproved KK-Sibu flight

Datuk Lee Kim Shin

KUCHING, Jan 5: Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) has urged AirAsia Berhad to refund all airfares to the passengers of the unapproved Kota Kinabalu-Sibu flight scheduled on Jan 3 which arose following the airliner internal inadvertent errors.

Its minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin revealed that both MOTS and State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had been duly informed through an email dated Jan 3 that due to AirAsia internal inadvertent oversight, the aforementioned flight was erroneously opened for sale to the public.

“The email also stated ‘For kind information please, we are now prioritising in taking care of all passengers booked on the BKI-SBW-BKI flight today and are being provided with the necessary service recovery options’.

“In view of this error, the cancellation of the said flight had caused unnecessary inconveniences to the public. As with regard to this unapproved flight, we urge AirAsia Berhad to refund all the airfare to the passengers who had purchased tickets,” he said in a statement today.

Lee also acknowledged that AirAsia Berhad has taken immediate measures to make sure that this incident will not occur in the future and had given the assurance that only approved flights by SDMC and MOTS will be operated into Sarawak.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to remind all airlines operating flights into and out of Sarawak, as well as within Sarawak to comply strictly with the flight schedule and frequency that had been approved by SDMC and MOTS,” he reminded.

Based on the approved flight schedule and frequency published widely in printed and digital media on Dec 31, 2020, he explained that there was no such flight approved from Kota Kinabalu to Sibu on Jan 3.

“In other words, SDMC and MOTS have never approved such flight schedules. More importantly, the planning of flight schedule and frequency from Sarawak into Sabah and vice versa are being given special attention taking cognisance of the current situation of Covid-19 in the state of Sabah.

“It must be highlighted that MOTS had on Dec 31, 2020 published in the local newspapers the detail of the schedule and frequency of flights going into and out of Sarawak as well as within Sarawak. This is to make sure that the public have sufficient information to properly plan their journey,” he emphasised.

With efforts made by the Sarawak government to contain the spread of the virus in the State, Lee believes that the public were fully aware of this matter and hence only book their flights based on the approved flight schedule.

“Let us all play our roles and be responsible in this challenging time to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the State,” he added. — DayakDaily