Mavcom fines AirAsia, MAHB over fees, service quality

An AirAsia plane is pictured on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang August 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
An AirAsia plane is pictured on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang August 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― AirAsia Group and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) have been penalised by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) for violating the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC).

The commission said AirAsia Berhad and its long-haul sister company AirAsia X Berhad were both penalised for charging credit card, debit card and online banking processing fees separate from their base fares, while MAHB’s subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MA Sepang) was penalised for not meeting selected Quality of Service targets set by Mavcom for the first quarter of 2019.

“AirAsia, AirAsia X and MA Sepang had received letters from the commission on the imposition of financial penalties on Friday (Sept 6),” Mavcom said in a statement.

The penalisation is in line with Mavcom’s efforts to protect consumers from being unfairly charged by airlines.

AirAsia and AirAsia X have been found to contravene subparagraph 3(2) of the MACPC which requires full disclosure of the final price of the airfare, to which both airlines were issued show cause letters and afforded opportunities to justify why the penalties’ quantum should be mitigated.

“Section 69(4) of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 [Act 771] together with paragraph 22 of the MACPC empower the Commission to impose a penalty not exceeding RM200,000 and in the case of a second or subsequent non-compliance, an amount ten times of the financial penalty which was imposed for the first non-compliance.

“Upon thorough evaluation and taking into consideration the written representations by the airlines, the commission has imposed on AirAsia and AirAsia X a penalty of RM200,000 each for the first violation of subparagraph 3(2) of the MACPC, for the period commencing 1 June 2019 to 9 August 2019,” Mavcom said.

As for MA Sepang, the commission determined that it failed to meet several requirements of the Airports Quality of Service Framework during the period of January to March this year.

This resulted in an RM1,179,889 penalty, as Mavcom said it is authorised to impose an amount not exceeding five per cent of MA Sepang’s annual turnover.

The commission’s executive chairman Nungsari Ahmad Radhi said the penalties are also intended to move the aviation industry in Malaysia towards an improved level of service, integrity and transparency, in line with Mavcom’s long term objectives for the industry.

“Air traffic in Malaysia today numbers at more than 100 million passengers per annum. Given this large consumer base, the Commission has set in place the MACPC and Airports QoS Framework, which are regulations that are designed to protect the rights and interests of the aviation consumers, as well as a means to increase the level of services in the industry,” he said.

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