INDEED, the airline industry could well be considered as the hardest hit in this pandemic and thus need as much assistance as it can possibly get from government in whatever way possible.
Reeling from the huge losses in revenues due to the suspension of flights and the continued fear of the majority of the public to travel, airline companies are faced with the bigger problem of having to refund their customers, particularly those whose flights were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Cebu Pacific (CEB), for one, continues to process a high volume of refund requests due to COVID-19 related flight cancellations.
According to Candice Iyog, CEB’s vice president for marketing and customer experience and spokesperson, they have so far refunded an additional P300 million since they began the process. As of last update, a total P2.7 billion have been refunded and CEB is still currently processing refund requests filed in June.
To ensure CEB continues to provide affordable and accessible air transport services in the years to come, Iyog said CEB had been working on raising fresh capital.
She also assured that CEB remains fully committed to close off pending refunds at the earliest possible time and that updates will be provided to its passengers once their requests have been processed.
“We understand how difficult this situation is for everyone, and we sincerely apologize for the delay. As the aviation industry gradually restarts and reshapes amidst this new normal, we hope for your continued patience and understanding, as refunds may still take up to six months from the time the request was filed. We are continuously enhancing our processes for a better overall customer experience. Thank you, every Juan, for your support in this unprecedented and challenging time,” Iyog said.
The country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines, to date, is just as heavily-burdened with COVID-related refund requests that have reached $300M. Of this amount, 80 percent has been refunded as of September 19, 202O, according to PAL spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna.
“Philippine Airlines remains committed to fulfill its obligation to address the refund requests of our customers. We seek your continued patience and understanding. We apologize for the inconvenience and difficulty this situation has caused and we shall endeavor to expedite the backlog in our system,” said Villaluna.
AirAsia on the other hand, is reaffirming its commitment to resolving all requests from flight cancellations brought on by the same problem.
To date, AirAsia Philippines has resolved 158,324 cases of refund requests, which were either converted to credit accounts or refunded in complete payments. This translates to 70 percent of the total 205,141 refund cases that the said airline has received since January 2020.
The remaining 30 percent or 46,817 cases are still in progress due to the sheer volume of requests, mostly lodged during the lockdown period.
Airline spokesperson Steve Dailisan said:“We understand that the pandemic has also affected the lives of our guests and the delays in processing refunds can be very unsettling, especially during these challenging times. For this, we sincerely apologize.”
Dailisan said AirAsia has developed additional digital solutions including same day credit accounts to enhance its customer support channels which include simplifying steps for requesting assistance.
The airline, he said, is working double time not only to sustain the viability of the company and its almost 2,000 hopeful employees, but most importantly, for the flying public.
By the way, congrats to Air Asia for having a new set of public relations people. Although I don’t know any of them personally, I’m happy for the airline. Their old handlers are just square pegs, sorry to say.
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