TAWAU, More than 2,000 passengers have been affected by the cancellation of several flights from Tawau Airport, following the volcanic eruption of Mount Ruang in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, yesterday. Tawau Airport manager Rehan Dhafiq Azizan said that there were AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines flights involving Tawau cancelled, while Firefly flights were delayed thus far, in addition to the 'on hold' status for Malindo flights. 'Now we are checking the flight schedules, indeed there are cancellations; we ask passengers to check the status of their respective flights first,' he said when met by reporters at the airport here today. He said that currently, Tawau Airport is still busy with stranded passengers trying to find alternative flights, or changing times or dates. 'The check-in counters are still open to facilitate the affairs of passengers who want to change the date or time of a new flight, because we do not want them to be crowded at the counter of their respective airlines,' he added. As for tomorr ow's flights, they are currently running as scheduled, however, the matter depends on the development of the situation over time, which the Malaysian Meteorological Department will inform, he said. Meanwhile, a check by Bernama at Tawau Airport found that the average stranded passenger hopes that airlines open a more customer-friendly inquiry counter to facilitate any transaction. Associate Prof Dr Mohd Hanif Hassan said that by having such a counter will enable passengers to get more detailed information, and not just rely on information via email or telephone. 'Put a hotline at the counter; sometimes passengers just want to know information, not just want to change the flight schedule; sit at the counter and explain what the customer wants. "At least the passengers are clear about what is happening, whether they have to wait or can go home first to rest," said Mohd Hanif, who was supposed to depart from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu with his family at 7.30 this morning. Another passenger, Fong Len Fui, also h opes the same for the airline to deal more quickly with the issue of customers who still do not know the status of their flight. 'By right, when a problem like this occurs, the airline should open a counter and explain to the passengers, because they are waiting as they don't know what the problem is. 'Don't expect them (passengers) to have to line up for four to five hours to wait for the notification,' said Fong, who was supposed to be travelling to Kota Kinabalu today. In SANDAKAN, a check by Bernama found that a similar situation also occurred at Sandakan Airport, as passengers were stranded at the airport following the cancellation of flights, including those to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Source: BERNAMA News Agency