When the allegations against AirAsia for discriminating against the disabled persons had quieten down, 6 years later AiraAsia started to charge disabled passengers RM120 for one way and RM240 return for wheelchair services, HERE.
AirAsia’s website has clearly showed the RM60 charge for wheelchair service. Please see The Mole’s report in HERE.
Below was the reply from AirAsia where it tried to justify the RM60 for wheelchair service:
“AirAsia would like to clarify that usage of wheelchair on all AirAsia flights is complimentary for all disabled guests (OKU). Disabled guests only need to key in their OKU / disability card number during the online flight booking process and present the actual card upon check-in at the airport. They will be fully assisted from the wheelchair counter to the aircraft, and the ambulift will be used to board the disabled guest.” Please read HERE.
It has also reported by the Mole that Ministry of Transport is probing into the high charges of RM60 for wheelchair services for the disabled, HERE.
There are enough complaints about AirAsia’s poor services, problems in refunding money, flight delays and etc. Please read in HERE.
The above reply by AirAsia was just another poor attempt by AirAsia to spin its way out of the problems. It has forgotten what it told Malaysians in 2007 with regards to disabled passengers.
After the disabled persons protested in August 2007 AirAsia was obviously under public pressures to come out with the following press statements:
On 7-8-2007 responding to protests by the disabled, low-cost carrier AirAsia said it would spend RM6mil to provide ambulifts and aisle chairs for wheelchair-bound passengers. There will be no additional cost for disabled passengers, the airline said. Please read HERE.
In 2007 it did not define what it meant by “DISABLED” person. On 9-1-2013 it has defined disabled person as “someone with disability card number”.
In another words, to qualify for the free wheelchair service in AirAsia one had to be registered with Social Welfare Department, HERE. The elderly, pregnant women and persona with mobility problems are not qualified under its free wheelchair service.
From this we can see clearly that AirAsia will say anything when it is under pressure and when all is well it will start to do otherwise.
When one talks about “disabled persons” it includes the handicaps, elderly, pregnant women, sicks and persons with problem of mobility. The Oxford Dictionary offers the meaning of “DISABLED” as “lacking one or more physical powers, such as the ability to walk or to coordinate one’s movements.” Yours truly believes that this is the universal meaning of disabled to corporations which value its corporate’s social responsibilities to society.
MAS and Malindo Air provide its passengers with wheelchair service free of charge. There is no condition attached to it. We should applaud MAS and Malindo Air for being disabled firendly to its spirit. Let us all support MAS and Malindo Air for being disabled friendly. Their respective fares are very competitive these days. We must avoid at all cost airline with track record of not disabled friendly. Please check out MAS and Malindo Air when you are planning your travel, HERE & HERE.
AEROBRIDGE IS NOT A LUXURY BUT NECESSITY
On 15-12-2013 Group of NGOs representing disabled persons met the then Minister of Transport YB Datuk Kong Cho Ha to welcome the decision made by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to install aerobridges at KLIA2 for all including people with reduced mobility, elderly, pregnant women and children. We thank MAHB for listening to and taking into consideration the voices of the people including us, persons with disabilities, in arriving at the decision. Please read HERE.
The said meeting between the then Minister of Transport and the group of disabled persons came about because AirAsia was demanding that MAHB shoud not build aerobridges for KLIA2 because aerobridges are not part of its business model. Please read HERE, HERE & HERE.
You will recall that a few years ago Tony Fernandes had been quoted to have make public statements that AirAsia will not move from LCCT to KLIA2 and that it will move its headquarters to Jakarta. Of course, Ms Aireen Omar, the current CEO of AirAsia had done an about turn and said that AirAsia will move to KLIA2 afterall.
It is unknown whether AirAsia headquarters is still in Jakarta or just a very small set up remains in Jakarta. Well, when AirAsia owed airport taxes in Indonesia, its aircraft was immediately grounded, HERE.
Other airlines including MAS and Malindo used aerobridge without any complaint. The cost of aerobridge is only RM80. If one were to divide the cost per passenger it will be less than a Ringgit each. Why kick a bit fuss about aerobridge when modern airports in the world are using aerobridge for embarkation and disembarkation from aircraft.
Unlike in Malaysia, during the Sleepy Era AirAsia has the immunity to owe airport taxes to the tune of more than RM120 million, HERE.
A pertinent question had to be asked:
Why AirAsia and/or its top executive have been so daring to take on the MAHB, indirectly the government?
May be the high ranking officers in Khazanah could assist us with the appropraite answers!
Yours truly hopes that the Ministry of Transport will strike down the wheelchair service charges of RM60 by AirAsia.
Yours truly also hope that the Ministry of Transport will walk the talk of “Rakyat DIdahulukan” by making it mandatory for all airlines to use the aerobridge when KLIA2 is in full operation in May 2014. The Ministry of Transport must not be seen to be dancing to the tunes of AirAsia and/or Tony Fernandes.
It is of no consequence to the Ministry of Transport that aerobridge is not part of AirAsia’s business model. But it is of the primary concern of the Ministry to put convenience and safety for all passengers before anything else. Let make our airports disabled friendly in the real sense of the words.