After numerous issues with local low-cost airlines, fliers were excited when MYAirline launched bookings for their website on 25 November 2022, with inaugural flights taking off on 1 December 2022. The initial reviews were promising, but the airline abruptly announced its immediate suspension of operations, less than a year after commenced operations.

The statement read, “MYAirline regrettably announces the suspension of its operations effective 12 October 2023 until further notice. The airline has come to this extremely painful decision because of significant financial pressures that have made it necessary to suspend operations pending the shareholder restructuring and recapitalisation of the airline.”

It is uncertain if ticket buyers would be issued refunds as it was not mentioned and the statement further read that, they advised “affected passengers to not head to the airport and seek for alternative travel arrangements to their destinations…MYAirline will be working tirelessly to resume operations as quickly as possible but at this stage, we are unable to commit to any timeline.”

Fliers left in the Lurch

The sudden news caused outrage and inconvenience to many customers, who took to Twitter (we’re still not going to call it X) to express their frustrations.

One user said that she had been at KLIA waiting to check in her luggage for her 7:30 a.m. flight from 4:00 a.m. to 5.40 a.m. However, upon arrival, she found that there was not a single MYAirline worker in sight and all their counters were closed. She said that this caused them to wait for a cancelled flight.

One user complained that there was “no prior notice, no prior email to passengers.” When she searched for her flight status the results were that it was not found and called the airline “irresponsible.”

Another user shared that MYAirline had run a promotion less than 24 hours before they ceased operations. They offered their condolences to everyone who booked and paid money to the company:

What to do if You Were Affected by the Flight Cancellations

The Malaysia Airports official Twitter account has also shared that passengers affected by MYAirline flight cancellations should do the following:

This news may have come as a shock to customers, but there were numerous warning signs that MYAirline was in hot water:

1. Potential New Investor Pulled Out

NST further reported that a potential new investor who would’ve offered life support to the carrier with sky-high operational costs and bleeding losses pulled out at the last minute. The decision of the investor’s potential deal to buy a controlling stake was supposed to have been made on 11 October but the investor withdrew.

The new investor was believed to potentially be Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg's son, Abang Abdillah Izzarim Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari who began his professional journey as a qualified commercial pilot before venturing into the world of ICT. He was believed to have attended several meetings and town halls with MYAirline recently.

If the reports are true, he was poised to emerge as the top shareholder should the purchase of MYAirline's majority shareholder Dato’ Goh Hwan Hua's shares have gone through. Goh holds the majority 88 per cent and 10 per cent shares, respectively through two private companies - Zillion Wealth Bhd and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd.

Eagle-eyed netizens have noticed that there is some interesting information about Dato’ Goh to take note of:
According to The Edge, he owns 31.75% in i-Serve Online Mall. In 2021, Bank Negara Malaysia took joint enforcement action against i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd and its related affiliates, resulting in the freezing of 45 bank accounts in seven banks and the seizing of cash totalling RM118.7 million. On 11 August 2022, i-Serve were granted leave for a second judicial review against BNM, AGC, and NFCC over their seizure orders.

2. C-Level Resignations at MYAirline

The news comes after NST reported that CEO Rayner TEO resigned due to health reasons on 9 October and their COO, Stuart Cross was appointed as interim CEO. Teo had been at the helm of the budget carrier since its inception in November 2020.

The report further read that Business Times had learnt there have been several resignations including that of its Chief Financial Officer and Chief Commercial Officer in the past few months. According to sources, a heated town hall session resulted in Teo resigning.

3. Service Providers & Employee Salaries Not Paid on Time

It was also believed that MYAirline did not pay its service providers and employees' salaries on time. It was said that the payments were often delayed.

4. Plans to Announce New Destinations Never Materialised

MYAirline has ambitions to introduce new destinations to Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam but they had yet to materialise before the operations were abruptly suspended.

Its winter schedule also saw a reduction in flights as of 9 October. There were previously four flights daily to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport from Kuala Lumpur which dwindled to only one. Its first international route to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport has only been launched on 28 June which made it the first Malaysian carrier to operate in two different airports in Bangkok.

Flight frequencies to domestic destinations were also reduced, with Sibu no longer being offered as a destination. On 9 October, MYAirline had its last flight from Miri to Kuala Lumpur.

Strangely, other reports showed that business was on the uptick:

1. They Flew More than A Million Passengers in June

As of 26 June 2023, business appeared to be soaring as they flew more than a million passengers in just over six months of operations according to Simple Flying. Previously, they reached the milestone of flying half a million passengers after only four months of operations.

2. The Arrival of its 9th Aircraft

In September, MYAirline announced the arrival of its 9th aircraft, an Airbus A320, with the registration 9M-DAN. It was said that their plans to expand routes might have also been detained due to the delayed delivery of some aircraft that were scheduled to be operational just before they suspended operations.

3. Extension to operate as a commercial airline until 2025

Curiously, despite MYAirline’s cash crunch, it received a two-year extension to its air operator certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). The certification approval from the country's aviation regulator allowed MYAirline to continue its commercial airline operations until 2025.

Have you been affected by MYAirlines news? Let us know in the comments.

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