Malaysia Airlines Scales Down Operations in light of Travel Ban
KLIA, 18 March 2020 – Following the Nationwide Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia for the period between 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020, Malaysia Airlines will significantly reduce its overall network.
International flights to India are also suspended between 17 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 and Philippines between 21 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 following the respective governments’ ban on travel to/from Malaysia. Prior to the Order, Malaysia Airlines has suspended services to Saudi Arabia, South Korea as well as Beijing Daxing and Kota Kinabalu to Shanghai also due to border controls imposed and reduced capacity to Australia and New Zealand due to self-isolation policy of the two countries.
Malaysia Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Captain Izham Ismail said: “The situation has been rather fluid these past two days since we have had to make last minute cancellations to abide by the restrictions. The uncoordinated approach has posed great challenges to our operations, but we are doing our best to re-route passengers via reallocation onto other carriers. This is an added cost to our operations. We are also adjusting our low-load flights by cancelling and merging them to manage costs while managing our customer expectations. To date we have cancelled more than 4,000 flights.
Our Global Contact Centre has been at the brunt of this situation with number of calls peaking at 25,000 daily and up to 2,000 emails daily in the past three weeks. We sincerely apologise to our passengers as we understand the situation is causing them anxiety concerning their bookings. I assure them that we are not here to take advantage of the situation – in fact we are one of few airlines that have offered unlimited flexibility in travel date change and waiver of certain fees. It is just taking us a lot longer to process each request due to the volume of calls and emails. Changing bookings requires special expertise in the global booking system, therefore it takes time for us to redeploy staff to support our contact centre. Our ticket office in Nu Sentral is also closed from today following the nationwide closure of malls. We are therefore encouraging passengers with bookings beyond the next 48 hours to initiate booking changes online via our COVID-19 waiver assistance form available on our website.”
Due to the significant capacity cut, Malaysia Airlines and all sister companies under the Malaysia Aviation Group’s back office operations have also been reduced alongside flight and airport operations. A majority of its workforce globally are working from home in line with various governments’ requirements to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Group ensures though that it continues to uphold the highest safety standards in its entire operations.