It looks like Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is in full damage control mode in the wake of last week’s MH17 tragedy (see here).
The carrier is giving passengers the option to cancel or change their flights booked for the rest of 2014 without any penalties. The offer is extended to those with non-refundable tickets, and those who have redeemed their flights with Enrich frequent flyer programme miles will also get all their points back if they want to cancel their bookings. Customers who wish to do so must call the nearest MAS call centres by July 24.
It has not been a good year for the Malaysian flag carrier. The MH17 incident came after the disappearance of flight MH370 earlier this year, which has hit MAS hard. The airline recorded a loss of RM443 million (US$139 million) during the first three months of 2014, which it attributed to “pressure on yields, under-performing non-core activities and negative sentiment on the airline”.
Though the MH17 crash is suspected to be the result of an missile attack, under the international aviation agreement Montreal Convention MAS is still required to make compensations to the victims' families. A report in The Wall Street Journal has put the figure at some US$49 million (US$174,303 per passenger). That is in addition to the multitude of claims resulted from the disappearance of MH370 flight, for which the carrier's insurer has already paid US$50,000 for each victims' family as an initial compensation.
Finally, as is common practice for airlines following aviation disasters, MAS will be retiring the MH17 flight number from its fleet. With effect from July 25, the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur will be designated as MH19.
For more information, visit malaysiaairlines.com