Loke: Malaysia Airlines passengers affected by catering issues should receive extra services

KUALA LUMPUR: Passengers affected by the catering issues aboard Malaysia Airlines flights should be given extra services like additional flying points, Transport Minister Anthony Loke told the Dewan Rakyat.

He said this following a question by Beluran member of Parliament Ronald Kiandee who suggested that the minister consider advising the national carrier to reduce its airfares like a low cost airline to manage the issue for the time being.

"We cannot compare (Malaysia Airlines) to a low-cost airline because low-cost airlines do not offer meals, and we must purchase them separately.

"However, we understand that this concerns Malaysia Airlines' image and I have suggested to the airline to provide extra services such as additional flying points to those who feel affected."

Loke added that there was a need for the airline to improve its meals and services.

"We don't deny that the food and services needs improvement, but when it comes to the airfares the airline's management must look into it.

"As we know, the government will not intervene in airline pricing, as this is a business decision," he said during the winding up session of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) mid-term review of his ministry.

He also added that customers' satisfaction was his top concern and expressed his wish for ongoing support for the national carrier.

"The passengers' satisfaction is of utmost importance and I hope that the airline's management will take comments and criticism in a positive manner," he said.

Malaysia Airlines last month ended its long-standing catering contract with Brahim's Food Services (BFS) after negotiations between the two parties since the fourth quarter of last year did not result in a satisfactory agreement.

Last Friday, Malaysia Airlines said they aimed to fully restore full meal services by mid-November.

The national airline said the reinstatement of hot meal services on domestic and international routes affected by the recent catering switch was expedited with the arrival of 10 new high-lift trucks earlier than scheduled.

Previously, it had expected to reintroduce hot food and beverage (F&B) offerings for all flights starting in the third week of September.

Earlier this month, Malaysia Airlines introduced a revised in-flight meal offering on routes previously served by its former catering provider.

This included peanuts and speciality drinks, packet drinks with pastries, chocolates, cookies, and pre-packaged hot meals served in disposable containers on trays.

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