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AirAsia and Malaysian Ministry resolve issue of 'Misleading' Advertisements

Travel News Asia 7 January 2004

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Malaysia has given AirAsia the go ahead to continue with its advertisements of low fares following a meeting held between AirAsias Management team with the ministry headed by its Director General of Enforcement, Abdullah Nawawi Mohamad. The decision was given at a meeting held as a fact finding mission, following reports on the airlines misleading advertisements.

Speaking Tuesday after the meeting, AirAsias Chairman, YBhg. Dato Pahamin A. Rajab said, We are happy that we can put this issue aside and move forward. We would like to thank the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, and the Malaysian Government for resolving the issue quickly and allowing us to focus on our business. We will set up meetings with officials from the Ministry of Cultural Arts and Tourism, to discuss ways of collaboration to grow tourism and the low fare travel market in Malaysia.

The ministry has acknowledged that there were no issues on the misinterpretation of the advertisements placed by AirAsia and that it (the advertisements) has no intention to mislead. The ministry has however pointed out that confusion may have arisen due to lack of understanding of the advertisements, particularly by first time flyers with AirAsia who are not familiar with the airlines unique and innovative concept.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin have also commented that AirAsia should explain its low fare scheme to consumers as the concept is still relatively new.

We welcome the ministers suggestion and have planned for road shows to reach out to more people and explain our low fares concept. We will continue to advertise our low fares as practiced previously, said Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia.

He further continues, It is always a low fare when you book a seat on AirAsia, no matter if you get a RM 1.99 fare or any other fare. Our lowest fare represents as much as 80% savings and the highest fare is still 20% lower compared to other full service airlines. We understand that some people, mostly first timers on our flights, may not be familiar with the concept; hence we will continue our PR efforts to educate the public on this matter.

AirAsias advertisements are similar to those used by other low fare airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir and Virgin Blue, which are governed by stricter advertising guidelines in their respective countries.

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