Malaysia Airlines’ Australian and New Zealand team has been working around the clock under enormous pressure in the wake of the shooting down of MH17 to support the families and loved ones of those on-board, and to continue to provide exemplary service to its valued trade partners and passengers.
The airline has also been working closely with the Australian and New Zealand Governments and police to facilitate fast and accurate identification of bodies and their return home.
“Most passengers’ next-of-kin have now been contacted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and Malaysia Airlines’ family assistance personnel have been assigned to provide emotional support and basic needs,” said Mr Lee Poh Kait, Regional Senior Vice President, Australia, New Zealand & South-West Pacific.
“As goodwill, we have also offered immediate financial assistance to each passenger’s next-of-kin. This will not be offset against the final compensation nor affect the families’ legal rights to claim under the Montreal Convention,” he added.
Mr Lee said Malaysia Airlines is continuing to receive strong support from travel agents in the region for which the team is very grateful.
“Malaysia Airlines understands the concerns about safety brought up following this tragic event and we reiterate that at all times MH17 was in the airspace approved by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),” Mr Lee said.
“Its flight plan was approved by Ukrainian authorities as well as Eurocontrol, the air navigation service provider which determines civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace,” he said.
“Ukraine was a popular route for Europe-to-Asia flights, and 75 airlines flew the same route as MH17 in the two days before the incident.
“Malaysia Airlines has redirected its routes through Europe as an extra measure of caution. We are now flying further south over Turkey and we hope that this assures trade partners and guests of our commitment to safety and security,” Mr Lee said.
For more information on flight paths, and Malaysia Airlines’ call to have the system that determines and approves them overhauled, please see this interview with Commercial Director, Dr Hugh Dunleavy, on CNN
Mr Lee said Malaysia Airlines remains 100% committed to this region and to rebuilding trust in the airline as a world-class full-service carrier, as is the Malaysian Government.
“Despite this incident we know we will recover and ensure the long-term survival of the business,” he said.
Overnight the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, YB Tan Sri Muhyddin bin Yassin, sent a message to all Malaysia Airlines’ staff across the globe expressing the Government’s continued support to the airline.
“Be strong in the face of these tests that are very difficult and trying for any airline. I assure you that the Government will continue to provide support to Malaysia Airlines to ensure our national carrier continues to fly high in the skies,” he said.
Mr Lee said Malaysia Airlines is very touched by the encouragement it has received from people all over the world and the respect for the team, especially front-liners, who continue to put on a brave face and genuine smile.
“We sincerely thank our industry partners for their empathy and support through this tragic time,” Mr Lee said.
Malaysia Airlines continues to fly more than 50,000 passengers on 360 daily services to 60 destinations including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Auckland. It has a strong network across Asia and long-haul connections to Europe.
Malaysia Airlines deeply regret the loss of MH17 and our prayers and thoughts are with the families and loved ones.
The families may contact +61 2 9364 3526.