The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has instructed all airlines to immediately improve flight disruption management in anticipation of an increased flight capacity and passenger traffic during the Chinese New Year festive season.
In a statement, it also reminded airlines of their obligations to consumers under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC), and urged them to resolve the issues experienced by passengers during recent flight disruptions.
"While Mavcom notes that airlines have SOPs for handling flight disruptions, their management must be further strengthened and given immediate attention.
"As such, the new directive is aimed at addressing concerns regarding the management and handling of flight delays and cancellations, especially during important festive holidays when air travel is expected to increase," it said.
Mavcom also instructed airlines to deploy dedicated delay handling teams in the event of flight delays of two hours or more, whom it said must be given the authority to assist passengers at all Malaysian airports.
"This obligation is to ensure better passenger communication and that airlines provide the necessary care and requirements as per the MACPC," it said.
Ahead of Chinese New Year, Mavcom said it had approved all 291 additional flights applied for by airlines between Jan 18 and 31, to meet travel demand and address the issue of high airfares during the festive period.
"Therefore, airlines need to be operationally prepared and carry out their duties effectively to ensure that the comfort of passengers is always prioritised.
"Overall, the commission has approved a 33.5% increase in domestic flights for 2023 compared to the Chinese New Year festive season in 2022," it said.