As part of efforts to improve the protection of air passengers' rights, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) recently published a consultation paper on proposed amendments to the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC).
It said in a statement that the amendments would cover protection in terms of refunds, passenger rights, travel passes, and the deletion of cancelled flights from the booking system of the airline in question.
The amendments are expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2023.
According to Mavcom, the proposed improvements include provisions for refunds for delayed flights to be made in the original payment method.
"These new provisions will ensure a consistent mode of reimbursement to aviation users," it said.
"The commission also suggests that airlines offer a refund option in the original payment method if the flight is delayed."
MalaysiaNow previously reported complaints by AirAsia and AirAsia X passengers over refunds and cancelled or delayed flights.
The AirAsia X passengers were only given refunds in the form of flight vouchers as the airline had completed its debt restructuring process after receiving court permission.
This sparked dissatisfaction among many who pointed out the limitations of the travel vouchers given to them in lieu of cash.
Delays and cancellations have continued even as Malaysia transitions to the endemic phase of Covid-19 – a trend also marked throughout the rest of the world.
Mavcom said its negotiation paper also featured proposals to protect users who had already paid in advance for flight tickets or travel passes.
It said these would apply when an airline was unable to fulfil the services promised in the event of a financial crisis such as debt restructuring, liquidation, or licensing issues.
"When an airline anticipates disruption to its operations, the proposed amendments require it to issue a notification and submit a plan detailing its reimbursement solution for consumers," it said.
"This will help Mavcom take the appropriate action to ensure that users' rights are always protected."
Mavcom executive chairman Saripuddin Kasim voiced hope that stakeholders and users would provide their feedback on the matter, which can be submitted through the Mavcom portal or by post by 5pm on Nov 7.
"Engagement sessions with Mavcom stakeholders on improvements to MACPC have already begun," he said in a statement.
"It is very important for the commission to take steps to improve MACPC together with the stakeholders, to ensure that they are aware of Mavcom's expectations."