Thursday, May 19, 2022

What is Mavcom’s stand on AirAsia refunds?

A passenger seeks clarification of the commission's move to close his complaint despite its statement urging AirAsia X to reimburse air travel consumers for their tickets.

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I am writing this message to seek clarification from the transport ministry on the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (Mavcom) stand on AirAsia refunds.

About two years ago, my flight to Australia was cancelled by AirAsia X due to the Covid-19 pandemic. AirAsia rejected my request for a refund of tickets purchased and instead issued a credit account without offering any options. I was not satisfied because the issuance of credit account was not only neither a refund nor a reimbursement but also in violation of Mavcom’s codes on refund procedure.

I then lodged a complaint with Mavcom. Surprisingly, Mavcom closed my case without giving any valid reasons and asked me to deal directly with AirAsia myself.

However, Mavcom published an announcement in its official website on Nov 12, 2021 as follows:

Mavcom To Exercise Its Statutory Powers If AirAsia X Berhad Does Not Reimburse Air Travel Consumers for Tickets Purchased

In line with the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (“Mavcom”) mandate to regulate economic and commercial matters relating to civil aviation in Malaysia and its commitment to protecting air travel consumer rights, Mavcom, on Nov 11, 2021, had issued a letter to AirAsia X Bhd (“AAX”) in response to its ongoing debt restructuring exercise. This letter follows from Mavcom’s various earlier correspondence with AAX.

In this letter, Mavcom has clearly and unequivocally urged AAX to reassess its proposal to treat air travel consumers as creditors and to pay only 0.5% of the value of tickets purchased as announced on Oct 18, 2021. Mavcom takes the view that air travel consumers ought not to be classified as “creditors” as the air travel consumers did not, inter alia, sell any products, provide services or make loans to AAX but instead have paid monies for the purchase of tickets in advance of their flights. Accordingly, Mavcom reiterates its position that AAX should reimburse air travel consumers for the tickets purchased.

If AAX fails to reimburse the affected air travel consumers accordingly, Mavcom will not hesitate to exercise its powers under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 [“Act 771”].

AAX has repeatedly in its correspondence with Mavcom and in their statements made to the public, given the assurance that AAX is committed to reimburse air travel consumers who were not able to fly due to flight cancellations.

Mavcom is committed to discharging its duties under Act 771 and the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code in ensuring that air travel consumer rights are safeguarded.

[ends]

What puzzled me most is that this announcement clearly contradicts Mavcom’s own decision to close my case.

Obviously, Mavcom’s stand on AirAsia refunds is misleading and needs clarification as there are many local and international passengers who are also still waiting for their refunds from AirAsia.

About two weeks ago, I spoke to Mavcom’s chief operating officer who promised to respond on this matter. As of today, I am still waiting for his response.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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