The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) is looking into the flood of complaints received from passengers who found themselves stranded due to delays and “indiscriminate” changes to flight schedules without prior notice during the festive season.
It said it had directed the airlines in question to submit the relevant data regarding flight schedule disruptions from April 29 to May 9, adding that this would allow it to gain “an objective, accurate and comprehensive view of the situation”.
The required data includes the actual scheduled flights versus the total number of rescheduled flights by “all airlines” that occurred throughout this period.
Mavcom executive chairman Saripuddin Kasim also urged customers who had faced delays or flight issues and who had not received “the proper care” to lodge a formal complaint with the airline in question, and to forward their complaints to the commission.
Mavcom meanwhile cited the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC), which requires airlines to communicate any change in flight status to consumers “as soon as practicable”.
In instances where delays continue for two hours or more, the operating airline must provide care including meals, telephone calls and internet access, it said.
For delays of five hours or more, the airline should provide accommodation and transport, if a stay becomes necessary.
“If the timing of the rescheduled flight does not meet the consumer’s purpose of travel, a refund of the flight ticket should also be made by the airline,” it said.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said earlier today that AirAsia had been given 24 hours to provide feedback on consumer issues, including those related to flight delays and rescheduling, following a wave of complaints on social media.
He said his ministry had compiled consumers’ grievances and complaints on the issue of AirAsia flight delays and made a preliminary study in terms of consumer interests under the ministry’s purview in addition to contacting the AirAsia management for feedback.
He said among the issues revolving around the interests of consumers highlighted in the initial engagement with AirAsia were flight delays, the review of flight schedules of up to more than six hours, as well as consumers’ eligibility for compensation in the event of flight delays.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong meanwhile said that all airlines involved must immediately rectify the issues experienced by passengers following the grouses aired over delays, rescheduling and technical problems.
He said the authorities had also reprimanded the parties involved and told them to ensure strict compliance with technical, economic, and safety regulations.
Saripuddin said Mavcom was in the midst of refining the MACPC to enhance the protection of consumers, especially during unprecedented situations.
“This will be a priority for Mavcom, and we will continue to ensure that industry players remain compliant with the MACPC and that consumer rights are continuously upheld,” he said.