View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kang Pacific Airlines Has Left Passengers Grounded and Without Refunds

In June 2008 it was reported that the entrepreneurial Paul Kang, CEO of Kang Pacific Airlines, had commenced a new route between Fujairah and the Philippines.

With all the marketing buzz surrounding this new airline and the UAE to Philippines routes many people purchased tickets but the planes are not flying and they have been left grounded and out of pocket.

Who is Paul Kang?
He is an Indian businessman based in Manchester, England who is owner of Paul Kang & Son [web site was not operating when access was attempted] which operates a ‘wide range of businesses’ including duty free shops. At one time he worked in aviation catering and then he owned a brewery business but he sold it to get into a new aviation venture. Like many tycoons he got the desire to start an airline and have a fleet of planes speeding through the air bearing his name.

Kang had a duty free shop in Fujairah where he got the idea of establishing Philippines to UAE flights in and out of the Fujairah International airport. Kang was planning to start flights from Clark Airport in North Manila (1 hr from the centre of Manila) to Fujairah and later establish flights to Singapore and Bangkok.

Initially on the Manila to Fujairah flight there would be a refueling stop in Dhaka (using MD 83s) but later he would use the 767 crafts and fly direct.

The Dubai Eye 103.8 Business Breakfast Show team interviewed Mr. Kang and you can listen to their grilling of the CEO at this link. They asked him many questions (with quite a skeptical tone) about why he thought his new airline would fly when so many airlines were going bust. Kang spoke of his research and preparation and his initial $6 mill investment that would soon be going up to $10 mill. One interviewer asked whether with rising fuel prices this was the right time to launch a new airline to which Paul Kang replied: “The time is always right if you play your cards right.” This airline business seems like a gamble but Kang is gambling with other people’s money.

One Prospective Passenger
Leonito Catubag, a Filipino living in the UAE, shares his story:

“I am one of the many customers who have been cheated by the Kang Pacific Airlines. On June 24, 2008 I booked and paid a ticket for my family. I paid KPA by visa credit card the amount of Dhs. 5,125.00.”

“On June 30, 2008, they sent notice that all flights were cancelled. KPA informed people to contact their office for the refund of the payment. Since June 30, 2008, up to this moment (1 October 2008), I have been calling, on a daily basis the KPA office and Mr. Paul Kang for the refund of my money but unfortunately KPA has not paid back the Dhs. 5,125.00. On August 30, 2008, Mr. Paul Kang switched off his mobile phone and there is no other way to contact him.”

“I went to the Fujairah Police on Sept 15, 2008. I met officer DEF [name withheld] and asked for help and all I need is to meet this Mr. Paul Kang and get my money back. But until now the Fujairah Police has made no progress in my request for help.”

“KPA has cheated customers and Mr. Kang deserves to be brought to justice…”

“I have a friend among others, Mrs. XYZ [Name withheld], who also paid cash and till now she had not been refunded.”

“According to one KPA employee, Ms. ABC [Name withheld], when the KPA office was still in operation, there was Dhs. 50,000.00 more or less that had not been refunded by KPA because Mr. Paul Kang stopped the refunding of the tickets. Apparently Mr. Kang just disappeared leaving no other way to contact him. The KPA office telephone is just ringing and nobody is picking up the phone.”

The CEO Has Flown
I have written a letter to Mr. Kang on behalf of Mr. Catubag asking for the money to be refunded to passengers and giving the courtesy of a reply. Mr. Kang was eager to hit the airwaves and market his airline earlier in the year but now his evasion, silence and desertion amount to illegal acts.

The UAE police must work hand in hand with police in Britain, the Philippines and other countries to track Mr. Kang down, bring him to justice and demand that all passengers get their refunds as soon as possible.

Mr. Kang has not played his cards right. He has gambled with the money of honest, hard-working people. He must be told that he has lost and the game is over.

If you also have booked and paid for seats on Kang Pacific Airlines and you have not received a refund do send me an email at geoffpound[@]

Note: Mr. Catubag has supplied me with the names of the KPA employee, the police officer and the other passenger cited but as I have not asked for their permission I have withheld their names.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Paul Kang (photo courtesy of Arabian Business which conducted an interview with Mr. Kang and posted this article in August before the business went belly up).