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Back when MYAirline Sdn Bhd (MYAirline) was first launched, I recall many Malaysians being excited over the then-new low-cost carrier airline. 

After finding out that the majority of MYAirline’s top management and employees had previously worked for AirAsia Group, it fueled even more excitement. With a more competitive landscape, it provided customers like you and me more options when travelling around.

But starting late last year, MYAirline began popping up more frequently in the news and not for good reasons. 

On October 12, 2023, the airline abruptly suspended its operations, leaving about 125,000 customers who had purchased tickets prior to that confused and upset. As a result, the airline is due to refund these customers, the total of which is estimated to be about RM22 million.

At the same time, MYAirline also had to pay travel agent deposits, which is another RM23 million, and RM4.3 million of unpaid salary to its employees. 

Image Credit: MYAirline

Shortly afterwards, there were reports of its co-founder, Datuk Allan Goh Hwan Hua, and four companies under his management being sued for their alleged failure to pay monthly redemption value sums from the investors’ outlay of about RM8 million.

He was also arrested to assist in an investigation under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

All of this happened in less than a year of its operations. Hence, to help you better understand the journey of MYAirline’s saga so far, we created a timeline detailing each major event that caught the nation’s attention.

Author’s note: For some of the points that need further expanding, we have marked the relevant events with an asterisk sign (*). You can read more of the details for these points after the timeline.

January 11, 2021

MYAirline Sdn Bhd is born

Allan Goh established MYAirline together with Rayner Teo Kheng Hock (CEO) to cater to low-cost flight passengers.

January 1, 2022

MYAirline received its Air Service Licence with conditional approval

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) granted MYAirline the Air Service Licence (ASL) with conditional approval. 

For context, the ASL is required to transport passengers, mail, or cargo for hire or reward by air between any two or more places, with one of them being within Malaysia’s borders.

October 1, 2022

MYAirline secured its initial Air Operator Certificate

MYAirline secured its initial Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). 

For context, the AOC authorises an operator, in this case MYAirline, to engage in specified aircraft operations.

November 15, 2022

MYAirline received full licence to operate

MYAirline received its full Air Service Licence by MAVCOM, thereby officially becoming a full-fledged airline. The ASL was effective until November 14, 2023. 

Within this period, MYAirline was allowed to operate a fleet consisting of Airbus A320-200 aircrafts from Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2). 

According to a report by ch-aviation, MYAirline gained its ASL after passing the fit and proper person tests, provided evidence of its financial bona fides, and met its regulatory obligations.

December 1, 2022

Image Credit: MYAirline

MYAirline took off to the skies

MYAirline began operations and marked its first journey as a low-cost carrier in Malaysia with flights from KLIA2 to Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, and Langkawi. 

May 22, 2023

Plans to grow aircraft fleet

MYAirline’s CEO, Rayner Teo, told ch-aviation that he wanted to increase the company’s fleet of aircrafts to 26 by the end of 2023.

He also reassured the publication that MYAirline had been seeing “very good numbers”.  

June 26, 2023

Hit millionth passenger milestone

MYAirline reached its first millionth passenger milestone during a domestic flight from Kuching to KLIA2. 

According to Malaysiankini, at this point, the airline company had flights connecting KL to some popular local destinations. This included spots like Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Kota Bharu, Langkawi, Penang, Sibu, Tawau, Miri, and an inter-city route linking Kota Kinabalu and Tawau.

June 28, 2023

Image Credit: MYAirline

Spread its wings into the international airspace

MYAirline opened international flight destinations to Malaysia’s neighbouring countries. The first international flight was to Bangkok, Thailand.

At the time, New Strait Times reported the airline’s CEO as stating that the company planned to expand its flight network in other parts of Thailand, such as Phuket, Krabi, and Chiang Mai. It also had plans of flying to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore.

End of September

Complaints of delay in salary payment

According to a report by The Edge, MAVCOM received a complaint from a whistle-blower saying that there had been delays in MYAirline paying salaries.

Oct 7, 2023

Rayner Teo resigned as CEO

MYAirline’s CEO, Rayner Teo, resigned and stepped down effective October 7 due to health-related issues.

Its COO, Stuart Cross, then assumed the responsibilities of interim CEO for the time being.

October 9, 2023

MYAirline received a two-year extension for its Air Operator Certificate

Based on a report by New Straits Times, the CAAM granted MYAirline with a two-year extension to its AOC.

This certificate allowed the low-cost carrier company to continue its commercial airline operations until 2025. 

The publication shared that Stuart Cross said MYAirline had undergone a thorough evaluation of its operations. This includes maintenance, crew training, safety protocols, and organisational management prior to receiving the AOC extension.

“This process involved rigorous assessments and regular audits conducted by CAAM… This achievement underscores our continuous efforts to prioritise safety and compliance in every aspect of our operations,” he reportedly said. 

October 12, 2023

Image Credit: MYAirline

MYAirline suspended its operations until further notice *

MYAirline released a statement saying that its operations were suspended effective today (October 12, 2023) until further notice due to “significant financial pressures”.

Following this release, The Star reported that MAVCOM issued a separate statement sharing that it had set up dedicated hotlines and channels to assist customers affected by the suspension of MYAirline’s operations.

October 13, 2023

MAVCOM issued a show cause letter to MYAirline

MAVCOM issued a show cause letter ordering MYAirline to provide its written representation within 14 days.

The show cause letter specifies MYAirline’s failure to fulfil its Air Service Licence conditions, including unsettled employee salaries and benefits. 

The airline company was ordered to submit a written justification by October 27, 2023.  

October 16, 2023

MAVCOM reported findings of analysis on MYAirline *

MAVCOM reported the findings of their analysis on MYAirline during a special chamber in Dewan Rakyat.

The Deputy Transport Minister stated that the airline company “did not show signs of financial issues that warranted the suspension of its operations”.

On the same day, MYAirline pledged to refund the 125,000 passengers who had purchased tickets prior to its flight suspension on October 12, 2023.

October 18, 2023

Allan Goh, co-founder of MYAirline / Image Credit: Setapak Sia (left) & Aerowanderer (right)

Co-founder of MYAirline arrested to assist police investigation

According to Free Malaysia Today, police forces confirmed the arrest of MYAirline’s co-founder and major shareholder, Allan Goh, along with his wife and son.

They were arrested to assist in an investigation under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

October 19, 2023

Co-founder of MYAirline slammed with lawsuit from 15 investors

15 investors filed a lawsuit against MYAirline’s co-founder, Allan Goh, and four companies under his management.

These companies are I-serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd, Bright Moon Venture PLT, QA Smart Partnership PLT, and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd. 

According to The Star, this is over the four companies’ alleged failure to pay monthly redemption value sums from the investors’ outlay of about RM8 million.

Following that, Goh and the four companies filed an application to strike out the lawsuit on the basis that the legal action was a nullity and an abuse of court process.

October 20, 2023

Police froze 15 banks accounts containing RM5 million

New Strait Times reported that police started the process of freezing 15 bank accounts containing RM5 million.

These bank accounts are believed to be owned by individuals related to the MYAirline case.

October 26, 2023

Four more individual arrested as part of the investigation into MYAirline

Malay Mail reported that the federal police said that they had arrested four more individuals as part of the investigation into i-Serve and MYAirline.

Commercial Crimes Investigation Department director, Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, said the four local suspects (two women and two men) were detained at the department’s headquarters in Menara KPJ along Jalan Tun Razak.

Based on preliminary questioning, Ramli said three of the suspects were employees of i-Serve and held directors’ positions at various entities owned by MYAirline’s co-founder, Allan Goh.  The fourth was a lawyer representing i-Serve.

Previously, Bank Negara Malaysia had fined i-Serve and six other companies affiliated with it RM50 million in October last year for illegal deposit-taking and money laundering.

November 1, 2023

MAVCOM suspended MYAirline’s Air Service Licence *

MAVCOM suspended MYAirline’s Air Service Licence after the airline company failed to comply with its licence conditions and the sudden suspension of operations.

November 25, 2023

MYAirline agreed to pay RM4.3 million worth in unpaid salaries

According to a report by Malay Mail, MYAirline agreed to pay 158 of its employees RM4.3 million worth in unpaid salaries.

The Malaysian Labour Department secured the payment on behalf of the employees’ union, which was pursuing the airline for unpaid salaries. 

It was shared that the payments will begin in January 2024, but are contingent on the airline company securing fresh investment. 

December 13, 2023

Malaysian High Court dismissed an application to strike out the lawsuit

Based on a report by KLSE, the Malaysian High Court dismissed an application by Allan Goh, the co-founder of MYAirline and the other four companies, to strike out the suit brought against them by 15 investors.

At the time of writing, the case is still under investigation.

December 14, 2023

Image Credit: AirAsia

AirAsia leased four aircrafts previously operated by MYAirline

Bernama reported that AirAsia Bhd, another Malaysian low-cost carrier airline company, had leased four Airbus A320-200 aircraft previously operated by MYAirline.

AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd. group CEO, Bo Lingam, said AirAsia had previously leased three of the aircraft before the COVID-19 pandemic from lessor AirCastle Ltd.

They were subsequently returned to the lessor and MYAirline leased the aircraft from the lessor.

“When MYAirline stopped operating, the lessor asked if we wanted these planes. We also needed the capacity for next year,” he told the publication.

December 30, 2023

MYAirline reminded customers to be wary of scams related to pending refunds

MYAirline released a statement reminding customers to be alert and cautious of potential scams related to pending refunds from the airline company.

This is due to the airline having received reports of individuals falsely claiming to be representatives of MYAirline, reaching out to customers awaiting refunds for their flight bookings.

January 12, 2024

MYAirline secured and signed a sale and purchase agreement *

MyAirline released a statement sharing that it had secured and signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) in late December 2023 with an investor from the Middle East.

Following this, Malay Mail reported that the Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that any new buyers for MYAirline must fulfil several criteria before they can purchase the airline. One of them is that the majority owner or 51% of the company’s ownership must still go to a Malaysian company.

Additional details

October 12, 2023 – MYAirline suspended its operations until further notice

MYAirline released a statement saying that its operations were suspended effective today (October 12, 2023) until further notice due to “significant financial pressures”.

In the statement, the board of directors said, “We have worked tirelessly to explore various partnership and capital raising options to prevent this suspension. Unfortunately, the constraints of time have left us with no alternative but to take this decision.”

It also explained that the airline company’s support team is readily available to provide assistance to those affected. “In the meantime, we are advising affected passengers to not head to the airport and seek for alternative travel arrangements to their destinations.”

The statement added that MYAirline’s board, shareholders, and staff will be working tirelessly to resume operations as quickly as possible but are unable to commit to any timeline.

Following this release, The Star reported that MAVCOM issued a separate statement sharing that it had set up dedicated hotlines and channels to assist customers affected by the suspension of MYAirline’s operations.

MAVCOM also instructed the airline company to immediately manage affected consumers, such as notifying them of the suspension, and publishing the news on the airline’s available communication channels. Besides that, MYAirline was also instructed to discontinue the sale and booking of flights from all booking platforms until further notice.

The commission further clarified that MYAirline is still liable to refund customers who have purchased tickets from the airline but were unable to travel.

October 16, 2023 – MAVCOM reported findings of analysis on MYAirline

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah / Image Credit: Ministry of Transport Malaysia

The Edge reported that an analysis was conducted by MAVCOM on October 3, 2023. 

Its findings were shared during a special chamber in Dewan Rakyat on this day (October 16, 2023) where the Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah said that MYAirline “did not show signs of financial issues that warranted the suspension of its operations”.

“This can be seen from the minimal rescheduling of flights, and repayments to customers that were completed on time. Everything looked okay, everything was on time. MYAirline also had plans to expand its operations to 12 planes, from eight by end-2023,” Hasbi said.

He further elaborated that MYAirline also informed the government that it was finalising a share sale to new investors locally and internationally. But this had not been concluded at the time.

“After conducting a technical audit of the company from May 29 to June 1, the CAAM approved the AOC extension for MYAirline from October 2023 to September 2025.” 

He explained that the technical audit was done “meticulously and based on international standards”. The audit was used to assess the airline’s capacity and efficiency in terms of commercial capabilities, operations, management and organisational systems, maintenance, safety, and cabin operations. Financial aspects were also looked into during the audit.

However, CAAM released a statement on October 16, 2023 that it had temporarily suspended  MYAirline’s AOC effective October 16, 2023 for a period of 90 days pending further investigations.

Image Credit: MYAirline

Separately, on the same day, The Edge also reported that MYAirline had pledged to refund the 125,000 passengers who had purchased tickets prior to its flight suspension on October 12, 2023. The airline company said the refunds will be done once it secures potential investors and gets new funding.

Based on ticket sales, the total refunds are estimated to be about RM22 million.

During a press conference, MYAirline’s interim accountable executive and director, Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said,”We acknowledge our error and understand the frustration experienced by our passengers [since the suspension]. We may have lost the trust of our passengers.”

“We admit there was a lack of contingencies due to the 11th hour pullout from a potential investor. We also acknowledge our communication shortcomings with both MAVCOM and CAAM, specifically our failure to engage with the authorities and passengers in a timelier manner, before deciding to temporarily suspend our operations.”

He explained that the abrupt action was taken out of a genuine concern for the safety its passengers and employees on a flight that operated from Wednesday night (October 11, 2023) to early Thursday morning (October 12, 2023). 

The suspension notice was issued at 5:30AM on October 12, 2023, whereupon the flights on Thursday morning were promptly cancelled. He further acknowledged that some passengers for these later flights were already at the airports, which he admitted was an oversight on the airline’s part.

November 1, 2023 – MAVCOM suspended MYAirline’s Air Service Licence

Image Credit: Malaysia Airports

MAVCOM suspended MYAirline’s Air Service Licence after the airline company failed to comply with its licence conditions and the sudden suspension of operations.

The decision to suspend as opposed to revoking its ASL licence was taken in consideration of the plight of the affected employees, passengers, and travel agents. The refunds for the affected passengers is about RM22 million while the travel agent deposits is another RM23 million. This does not include the outstanding salaries still pending. 

During an interview with The Edge, MAVCOM’s executive chairman, Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim said, “Under our current SOP, if an airline’s ASL is revoked, we will usually impose a one-year cooling-off period. That means it will not be able to make a further application for a new licence for at least a year.”

“With suspension, if MYAirline is able to secure investors to resume operations, the application for an ASL will normally take a minimum of 90 days to process.”

MAVCOM reported in a statement that it had received MYAirline’s written representation on October 27, 2023. After reviewing the written representation, MAVCOM decided to suspend MYAirline’s ASL as the representations made by the airline were not satisfactory to the show cause letter. 

“Although the revocation of MYAirline’s ASL was highly considered, the potential implication of that could result in halting efforts in initiating refund payments to the affected passengers,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Hj. Saripuddin Hj. Kasim, Executive Chairman of MAVCOM. 

January 12, 2024 – MYAirline secured and signed a sale and purchase agreement

New Straits Times reported that MYAirline had secured and signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) in late December 2023 with an investor from the Middle East.

Without disclosing the name of the investor, the report said that MYAirline hoped it could now work towards resuming operations by the middle of this year (2024).

“The first action item hopefully is the payment of salaries and refunding passengers,” Bernama reported a source saying.

Following this, Malay Mail reported Transport Minister Anthony Loke saying that any new buyers for MYAirline must fulfil several criteria before they can purchase the airline. One of them being that as per local law, 51% of the company’s shares must still be owned by a Malaysian company.

“We are not sure what the proposal is but we are meeting them today (January 12, 2024), shortly,” he told reporters.

“We want to know what are the proposals, and the status right now and our priority is whatever application they make, a few conditions must be imposed if they want to restart the operations. They must make sure all refunds previously must be made and whatever deals offered to the staff must be paid. If they meet these two conditions we can talk,” he said.

-//-

At the time of writing, this is all the latest news that was reported on MYAirline and its co-founder, Allan Goh.

  • Learn more about MYAirline Sdn Bhd here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Aerowanderer

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