Lack of spare planes causes AirAsia Aidilfitri flight delays

THE delays during the festive season were due to shortage of spare aircrafts, which resulted in the company having to use all its available fleet to accommodate the surge in demand.

Capital A Bhd (AirAsia) group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said that this year’s Aidilfitri celebrations saw a significant increase in demand for air travel as Malaysians returned to their hometowns.

“Our on-time performance is 92% today because we have spare planes. But during Aidilfitri, we tried to put everyone on the flight, and we had no spare planes. Everyone wanted to go home after two years of being locked down. So, we used every single plane,” he said.

“It is always easy to criticise, but this Aidilfitri was unique — we just came out of the Covid-19 pandemic. And we made a decision: Let’s get everyone home.

“Although there will be a risk of delay, at least we get people home at the lowest fare. But I’m proud that seven out of 10 people got home because of AirAsia,” he said during a meeting with AirAsia Ride’s top performing drivers in SetiaWalk Mall, Puchong, Selangor, yesterday.

During the event Fenandez said that he was committed to ensuring fair fares for both passengers and drivers despite the recent issue of high fares and increased difficulty in getting a ride as Malaysia gradually transitions to the endemic phase.

“When we started the airline business 20 years ago, our goal was to democratise air travel by making it affordable for everyone.

“This was the one key message that I reiterated to Lim Chiew Shan, our regional CEO of AirAsia Ride, when we first started this business, and I am proud that we have been able to stick to this vision and benefit both drivers and passengers alike.

“Now, where we have been able to make flying affordable for everyone, we are proud to be able to help our drivers and passengers as well,” Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, Lim said that they will continue to ensure fair fares for both parties despite the recent issue of high fares and increased difficulty in getting a ride as Malaysia gradually transitions to the endemic phase.

He further added that drivers and customers alike can expect the same level of service from the company, regardless of the current challenges faced by the country.

“At AirAsia Ride, we have a ‘driver-forward’ strategy where drivers, while not being employees, are treated as our business partners and we work together for the benefit of our customers.

“We conduct regular forum events such as this Drivers’ Gathering event to acknowledge our drivers’ efforts and provide them with an easy and open access to discuss and address any issues or concerns with the management directly,” said Lim.

Lim said that the company will not “punish” their passengers by making them pay double or triple their normal fares even when there is a shortage of drivers on service. He assured that fares have to be fair to both passengers and drivers to achieve a win-win situation, and they will make sure the fare surge, when it occurs, will be able to cover the additional time in traffic for drivers during peak hours.

“As the market has fully reopened in Malaysia and economic activities have been going back to pre-pandemic levels, we have seen a surge in traffic jams across major highways during peak hours.

“On the other hand, many of our drivers have been less active as they might have found other careers, which we are very happy about. We are glad to have been able to help provide them with an alternative income opportunity in their times of need,” he added.

With the help of more than 30,000 registered drivers on the platform, AirAsia Ride has recently reached one million completed rides in less than a year of its existence.

Drivers are now enjoying 90% off of Unlimited AirAsia flights, up to RM4,000 in monthly income and extra incentives of up to RM200 weekly to ensure that they can earn more.

Drivers will also have real-time information on passenger arrivals, allowing them to better manage their time by reducing waiting time, making more trips and earning more.

During the event, top-performing drivers were also rewarded with special gifts from AirAsia Ride’s driver benefit partners such as Shell Malaysia and Liqui Moly GmbH.

Airasia Ride offers a RM5 discount for the first 10km of the next ride to all users in Malaysia on June 2, 2022. — by FAYYADH JAAFAR / graphic by TMR