MAS to waive change fees, offer refunds to passengers

In light of the MH17 tragedy, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has announced that it will waive any change fees for passengers who wish to change their itinerary to any flight destination.

“Passengers who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans can obtain a refund, including for non-refundable tickets,” said the national carrier in its fifth statement since MH17 was shot down in Ukraine on Thursday.

“Our Enrich passengers will also receive fee waivers for any changes to their travel itinerary, as well as refunds of miles should they choose to cancel their redemption tickets.”

MAS said the waivers were only applicable from July 18 to July 24, for travel between July 18 to December 31.

“Passengers who wish to make changes to their travel plans may contact the nearest Malaysia Airlines ticketing office, or call our global call centre at 1-300-88-3000.

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets the loss of MH17, and is very much appreciative of the support from our passengers,” it added.

On Thursday, MAS flight MH17 was shot down in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers aboard.

The incident came just four months after another MAS jetliner, flight MH370, vanished on March 8, triggering an international search effort that has so far yielded no results.

The double tragedies, as well as the unprecedented loss of 537 passengers’ lives in such a short time span, spells a grim future for MAS which had already been struggling with high costs for the past few years.

Analysts said the fate of the national carrier would hinge on its ability to weather the expected drop in passenger figures as well as its bad image.

MAS reported losses of RM443.4 million in the first quarter of the year, from a net loss of RM278.8 million in the same period last year. Losses in 2013 amounted to RM1.17 billion.

MAS said that the Q1 loss was due to missing flight MH370, where it saw high numbers of cancellations and a decline in long-haul travel after the March 8 incident. – July 19, 2014.