Thursday, 8 March 2012

Is AirAsia going bankrupt? Should we buy tickets?

  #Cancel rather than honoring contract with tens of thousands of clients
# AirAsia consistently forfeit on issuing 2011/12 passenger refunds
# Passengers lacking confidence in assurances of replacement flights
# AirAsia New Zealand routes set to fall with widespread disruption 
# AirAsia insolvent and lacking funds to meet operational expenses?

UPDATE: AirAsia have cancelled the Christchurch to KL route. In a bizarre turn of events they have told passengers that if they want to get to KL, then they must pay their own way to Australia to make a connection and onward flight to Malaysia. You be the judge of whether to hand them your money ..

It's only weeks since 'Air Australia' collapsed, leaving thousands of passengers stranded worldwide. And now there's increasing conjecture that AirAsia may be following in their footsteps.  Of course,  'Air Australia' had allegedly been hand to mouth for many months, before their aircraft became stranded because they couldn't pay their expenses. Can AirAsia??

AirAsia are withholding refunds. From social networks and travel websites, we estimate that it is withholding thousands of passengers' refunds. In case you have been on Mars, this comes from AirAsia 'suspending' flights - arbitrarily cancelling rather than honoring their contract with passengers -  to London, Paris, Mumbai and Darwin. Is this an airline in good health? No.

"It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately.." CNN

Consider the 'Air Australia' statement immediately after its demise - with passengers trapped overseas everywhere from Hawaii, Thailand, Indonesia to Australia. It all escalated when an aircraft could not afford to refuel in Phuket. "It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately," the company said in joint statement Friday with its newly appointed administrators, KordaMentha." Meanwhile, over at AirAsia ... 

Here's a typical complaint from a gentleman by the name of Oscar from Perth, Australia. His is one of a multitude of similar posting on websites such as Tripadvisor.  In Oscar's case he states that he has sent AirAsia no less than four emails requesting his A$6000 refund - that's not a typo, that's six thousand dollars - and has had exactly zero responses from AirAsia.

Correction, one initial email where they said he would be refunded in 14-30 days - which is long gone. Again, this is not an isolated incident, readers. We are hearing it again and again. Why are they not refunding passengers?

So, let's begin with the hoards of disgruntled people who are still waiting for a refund as a result of AirAsia's defaulting on their flights to London, Paris and other destinations. Why AirAsia suddenly cut these routes is an entirely different question, isn't it? The weeks pass by and become months, and the AirAsia social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter are buckling with ex-customers demanding satisfaction regarding their flight replacements or refunds for cancellations. Show me the money! being the rallied cry.

Indeed, most passengers are still unsure if they will even be offered replacements. Again, the real life stories of people whose lives have been ripped apart are numerous. They can't get refunds for accommodation, tours they had paid for in advance, even if AirAsia did finally refund their ticket.
One of the saddest tales was a couple whose wedding had been ruined by AirAsia's selfishness - the poor groom's repeated desperate attempts on social media sites was like a wounded animal whose cries haunt you.

According to TVNZ, it is also tipped that AirAsia will soon be dropping its New Zealand route - like Christchurch hasn't been hit badly enough. "Industry sources say the Malaysian budget airline has approached Air New Zealand about the availability of special fares to cater for passengers who will have their travel plans disrupted by their flights being cancelled. The fares needed to be available in the next few weeks, sources said" And Australia is openly welcoming this sham airline? Say it ain't so! 

What about the AirAsia 'Go Insure' that was thrust upon passengers? Is it valid for AirAsia cancelling thousands of people's flights and the affiliated problems that surely brings? If it's not hard enough for passengers to get money out of this airline, how hard must it be to have your money refunded, but leave the insurance in place? We would be very interested to hear from customers via Twitter @FlyAirAsiaNotMe or  about any extraordinary problems that you have encountered. We guarantee you'll get more action our of us than AirAsia. Don't get angry. Get even!

Remember, this was the egalitarian airline. This was the airline that made it so, "Now everyone can fly!" This is the airline that is now frequently more expensive than full-service airlines. See our report - HERE - from Christmas where AirAsia bumped its holiday prices above Qantas and Singapore Airlines. And now they break their implicit agreement to fly those who had confirmed flights and beyond, thousands of passengers who trusted AirAsia.

Behold another bullshit 
AirAsia technical fault ..


The easiest logistical problem to sort - one would have thought - would be to issue customers who asked for a refund with their money. And let's not be mistaken, it is the passengers' money, isn't it? It should be an easy exercise, of course, if AirAsia actually had the money to give the money back.

We rather doubt they do. The airline is in a cash-flow nosedive, and feasibly headed for disaster. Whether they take your money with them is up to you. You see, we feel intensely sorry for those who may have lost their money. It is up to AirAsia to make amends. We feel very concerned, however, for any of you who are yet to book. You have an airline throwing good money after bad. Do you trust them? Please study the following paragraph very carefully.

Importantly, it must be said that AirAsia are entirely underhand when it comes to issuing refunds. Frankly, we have been wondering how they escape jail for many years, and have filed articles such as these - HERE & HERE.

Did you read those articles? Do you now begin to understand what a bunch of frauds they are? AirAsia frequently use ridiculous excuses of IT problems to explain away their withholding what is rightfully yours. AKA 'Thieves'.

AirAsia are willing to destroy the travel plans of literally thousands and thousands of faithful passengers as they did in July without any guilt, or even a genuine apology. Will they do it again? Yes. Are they willing to deceive customers? Demonstrably, they've just done exactly that. It's ongoing. Are they to be trusted with your money? Are you joking? 

Again this week, AirAsia announced more route cuts. This airline isn't growing as its Management are constantly boasting, it is shrinking.

Indeed, after a much lauded purchase from Boeing worth billions of dollars, some would call it a PR stunt, AirAsia has just deferred delivery of the raft of aircraft. The airline's CEO, Tony Fernandes, was boasting that the contract was smeared with lipstick of AirAsia hostesses. So, with these current issues, passengers deliberately denied refunds, and an imminent global financial crisis, will we be waving AirAsia goodbye? Who knows? It's a story for another day, but we'd recommend you observe the commentary on AirAsia's absolutely fkin' unbelievable level of debt - US$18,919,590,797.00 - and lack of Corporate Governance HERE & HERE. This airline's on the brink, one that cannot repay its debts .. even withholding your money.

Of course, one cannot ignore the recent Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report slamming AirAsia's training of its pilots - HERE - and the dearly lacking maintenance of their aircraft - HERE - which above all else would have alarm bells ringing as to lack of due diligence and funds. 

Without getting unnecessarily technical, we have all the analytical information for the 'back office' of this website. A part of that detailed information pertains to specific search terms people enter into Google, in order to reach our pages. It is armed with that information that we are aware at just how many people on the Internet are asking questions like, "Is AirAsia out of money?" and "Has AirAsia gone bust", and "Is AirAsia bankrupt - will I get my refund." Do they know something that we don't? This negative consumer expectation is only going to spiral down and down - and one would have to think that it is only a matter of time before the share price tanks.

Bye bye.

And what of AirAsia's attitude? Are they being transparent? As we mentioned, 'Air Australia' had allegedly been doomed for months, before their aircraft became stranded in Thailand. Only last evening the 'AirAsia UK' FaceBook page deleted our comments and blocked us from commenting.

That is concerning, as it ostensibly shows a company that is afraid of fielding questions from customers - or consumerist websites such as our own - and being transparent as to their current situation. Clearly it was a silly move, because at least AirAsia was guaranteed the right of reply on their own social media page. Naturally, they now do not have an immediate opportunity to comment. Honesty is not in their vocabulary. Of one thing we are 100% positive, the Management of AirAsia are bankrupt morally. Will they issue numerous press releases asserting that they are not insolvent?

Probably.  Will they be believed? We'll see. In the meantime, before you consider booking on any future AirAsia flight, please read the excellent Malaysia Chronicle article about this debacle - HERE - not forgetting to read the many understandably belligerent customer responses you will find.