Malaysia Airlines suspends flights to India, Philippines

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines says it will suspend all flights to India and the Philippines following the government’s ban on travel abroad for Malaysians.

Flights to India will be suspended until March 31 while flights to the Philippines will be suspended from March 21 to 31.

“Following the nationwide movement control order by the government from today to March 31, Malaysia Airlines will significantly reduce its overall network,” said Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Izham Ismail.

He said Malaysia Airlines had already suspended flights to Kota Kinabalu, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Beijing, Shanghai and Daxing in China.

He also said flights to Australia and New Zealand were reduced in capacity due to the countries’ self-isolation policy.

“The situation has been rather fluid these past two days since we have had to make last-minute cancellations to abide by the restrictions.

“The uncoordinated approach has posed great challenges to our operations, but we are doing our best to re-route passengers through reallocation onto other carriers,” he said.

While this meant an added cost to the airline’s operations, he said, it was also adjusting low-load flights by cancelling and merging them in order to manage costs.

Malaysia Airlines has cancelled more than 4,000 flights to date.

It said its global contact centre had borne the brunt of the situation, with calls peaking at 25,000 daily in addition to up to 2,000 emails.

He apologised to passengers for any anxiety concerning their bookings, adding that it was taking the airline longer to process requests due to the volume of calls and emails.

The Malaysia Airlines ticket office at Nu Sentral, Brickfields, will also close from today, with the majority of the airline’s global workforce working from home.