The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) today said that it could only act within the confines of the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC) 2016 in responding to passenger complaints, following reports of more international travellers venting their frustrations with budget airline AirAsia.
In a statement, Mavcom said that Section 69(3) of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 "limits compliance to the MACPC to aviation service providers that carry passengers to two or more places, of which at least one place is in Malaysia".
Responding to an article by MalaysiaNow, it said the flights in question were not governed by MACPC as they fell under the jurisdiction of other countries which might have different consumer protection laws.
"Hence, these cases are beyond Mavcom's jurisdiction," it added.
MalaysiaNow had reported complaints by two AirAsia passengers who said they were still waiting for refunds from the low-cost airline.
One of them, a UK citizen living in Germany, said he had paid €103 (about RM480) for a flight from Luang Prabang, Laos to Bangkok, Thailand, scheduled to depart on Aug 30, 2022.
He booked the tickets on June 23, 2022, and was told a month later that the flight schedule had been changed.
Felicity Wilcox said after the report had been published that he had finally succeeded in getting his money back.
"I finally got my refund!" he said in a post on Facebook.
"Over six months of waiting, hundreds of tweets, almost daily emails, Mavcom unable to help... it is finally done. I will now never have anything to do with AirAsia ever again."
The other passenger who spoke to MalaysiaNow, Elvi Yuliani from Singapore, said she had been contacted by AirAsia in three emails promising her a refund.
"One email said the transaction had succeeded and asked me to check my account balance," she said.
"But they never asked me for my bank account number, so where did it go? I checked my credit card account too, but there was nothing."
Elvi then received a second email informing her that she would need to wait four to eight weeks for a refund.
"The third email said everything would be done within seven working days," she said.
Mavcom, in its statement to MalaysiaNow, confirmed reviewing and responding to both customer complaints, adding that this had been done within the stipulated time frame of seven days.
"Based on the commission's review, the cases occurred overseas and the flight routes did not include Malaysia as part of the scheduled journey," it said.
"Therefore, these flight incidents are not governed by the MACPC."
It said it had informed Wilcox and Elvi on Jan 1 and 26 respectively to contact the source of the booking.
Mavcom has been under fire by AirAsia passengers, both local and international, who say the commission has not taken firm action against the airline in the issue of flight delays and cancellations since early 2020.
MalaysiaNow has repeatedly contacted AirAsia for a response but has yet to receive any reply.