As a way to stimulate air travel which is bracing a slowdown due to uncertain economic conditions, AirAsia group announced the omission of processing fees when paying online or with credit cards. The processing fee represents an additional US$15 for the passenger on average.
“AirAsia Group Bhd will remove the processing fee for customers who pay either via online banking and/or credit card from October onward”, according to a Twitter from Tony Fernandes, Group CEO. “I’m pleased to announce that AirAsia is removing processing fee starting in October. We still have some charges to drive traffic to offer cheaper and safer methods that prevent frauds. But there will be methods with no fees and no more process #technologyrules,” he announced in his post.
Fernandes explained about the development and AirAsia’s constant efforts to reduce costs for passengers. The airline already removed the additional fee charged by authorities at the Terminal 2 of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, judging the fee being unfair following its alignment with fees charged at the full-service airlines in Terminal 1.
In another development, the carrier announced to sharply reduce its presence in Chiang Rai province in Northern Thailand. The new air base was announced with much fanfare earlier this year and included the launch of international flights from Chiang Rai to Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Phuket and Singapore. Facing the extreme low load factors, the airline already pulled out of Kuala Lumpur in June. It was, however, replaced with a direct connection between Chiang Rai and Shenzhen. The carrier also terminated its route between Chiang Rai and Singapore starting today.
Various factors explain AirAsia’s failure in boosting Chiang Rai as a new international tourist destination. The absence of marketing measures to promote the new route is the first reason and can be linked also to external factors such as the high exchange rate of the Thai Baht – which increasingly weigh on tourists’ decision to visit Thailand – as well as heavy air pollution problems, which affected Northern Thailand earlier in the year.