Code ensures rights and better protection for air passengers, says MAVCOM executive chairman

The Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC), which came into effect last year, was the result of extensive engagement with relevant stakeholders and designed with consumers in mind.

Regarded as a major milestone in the country’s aviation industry, MACPC was adapted from international guidelines such as the Montreal Convention 1999 and the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Core Principles on Consumer Protection.

“What this means for consumers is that when they travel by air in and from Malaysia, their rights are clearly defined and protected under the law.

“These rights cover dealings with airlines, airports and other aviation service providers, including foreign airlines operating in and out of Malaysia,” Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) executive chairman Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad said.

One of the key highlights of the code is that airlines and airports are given 30 days to resolve consumer complaints. MACPC also provides for compensation and care for flight delays of two hours or more, flight cancellations and lost or damaged luggage.

“This includes hotel, accommodation and transport for delays of five hours or more, or when a stay becomes necessary or a full refund or alternative flight, or if a flight is cancelled,” said Abdullah.

He said the most notable case resolved through the code was in assisting Rayani Air Sdn Bhd’s customers on chargebacks that involved engagement with Bank Negara Malaysia and various banks in facilitating the process.

He said in the Rayani Air case, MAVCOM facilitated the successful refund amounting to about RM300,000.

To date, 87 per cent of the affected customers had been refunded.

Abdullah said another example was the case of Eaglexpress Air Charter Sdn Bhd, where MAVCOM revoked the airline’s air service permit (ASP) after it failed to comply with specific conditions imposed by the commission within stipulated time frames.

He said following the revocation of Eaglexpress’ ASP, MAVCOM worked with the Tourism and Culture Ministry to address matters for umrah passengers.

During the year, MAVCOM had announced a revision to the Passenger Service Charges (PSC) applicable for airports in Malaysia.

The revision included the introduction of a new and lower PSC tier for travels to Asean countries, making Malaysia the first member country to introduce such a tier.

Set up on March 1 last year, MAVCOM’s goal is to promote a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry, which supports the nation’s economic growth.

The role of MAVCOM differs from those of the Transport Ministry and the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

The ministry is responsible for industry policymaking and government-to-government discussions, while DCA regulates technical and safety matters for Malaysia’s civil aviation industry.