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MAVCOM Eliminates Hidden Charges for Air Travel
MAVCOM Eliminates Hidden Charges for Air Travel
New amendments to the MACPC further empowers consumers to exercise their air travel rights
KUALA LUMPUR, 24 MAY 2019 – The Deputy Minister of Transport, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Kamarudin Jaffar, today announced the latest amendments to the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC) which will be coming into force effective 1 June 2019. He made the announcement at the official launch of the FlySmart mobile application, a consumer-centric initiative by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM).
Speaking at the event, Kamarudin explained that MAVCOM will be implementing changes to the MACPC which will have a direct and positive impact on consumers. “The MACPC contains guidance regarding passenger rights. Since its first implementation, MAVCOM has obtained much feedback from consumers and these changes in the MACPC are a result of such feedback and consultations with aviation players in Malaysia. I am very glad to note that the amendments will further enhance and protect the travel rights of consumers.”
The updated MACPC now requires airlines to publish the final price of airfare for flight tickets. In accordance with the MACPC, airlines must disclose the final price of airfare both at the point of advertisement and when purchasing flight tickets. The final price must include the base fare and all charges to be paid to the airline, government-imposed taxes and fees, fees and charges prescribed under any written law, as well as fuel surcharge. This in effect eliminates hidden charges, such as card payment charges and administrative fees. Charges for optional services purchased by a consumer on an opt-in basis should also be displayed and included in the final price at point of payment.
Effective 1 June 2019, refunds on flight tickets should also be reimbursed to passengers within 30 days from the date the passenger requests for a refund. Likewise, if the ticket is purchased through a travel agent, the airline should reimburse the travel agent within the same duration of time. The amendments also include a refund to consumers on passenger service charges, taxes, fees, and charges prescribed under any written law for both refundable and non-refundable tickets, should a passenger not travel. Airlines are only permitted to charge a maximum of 5 per cent processing fee if the ticket is non-refundable.
Airport operators must also display the MACPC clearly for consumers’ reference, while airlines are required to inform travellers on their travel rights through all possible platforms.
According to Dr. Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Executive Chairman of MAVCOM, “In line with the Commission’s role in protecting consumers’ rights as defined by the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015, we believe that these amendments to the MACPC will better safeguard travellers’ welfare while also raising overall service levels in the industry.”
The newly amended MACPC also includes provisions on wheelchair service for persons with disability, disclosure of terms and conditions at the point of purchase, and responsibilities of airlines to ensure its staff or handling agents have adequate knowledge of the MACPC.
The MACPC, which came into operation on 1 July 2016, was formulated with the main aim of protecting the rights and interests of air passengers. It provides a guideline on consumer rights and complaints processes as well as penalties on non-compliance. The amendments to the MACPC was gazetted on 10 May 2019.
Since the implementation of the MACPC, MAVCOM has received various feedback from, amongst others, consumers, airport operators and airlines in Malaysia. As a result, the Code was enhanced, with amendments made to further improve protection of the rights of travellers.
As an economic regulator for the aviation sector in Malaysia, MAVCOM also champions the rights of consumers.
“Since its establishment, MAVCOM has undertaken various initiatives to educate consumers of their travel rights. Another milestone that the Commission has achieved is the launch of the FlySmart mobile application,” added Kamarudin.
“While MAVCOM has undertaken various initiatives to further the development of the industry, ensuring a level playing field for the players, fair competition and more, the Commission is fully cognisant of the need to ensure that consumer satisfaction remains a key priority,” concluded Dr. Nungsari.
FlySmart is a consumer-centric initiative by MAVCOM where consumers can obtain information of their travel rights through various platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and the FlySmart website. The launch of the FlySmart mobile application today is another convenient platform for consumers to have easy access to essential information and lodge their complaints from their mobile devices. Consumers are also able to track the status of their complaints through the mobile application. The FlySmart initiative is more than just a medium to educate consumers, it is also a platform for consumers to empower one another as it features stories by travellers on how they were able to exercise their rights as consumers with the assistance of the Commission.
Apart from the newly introduced FlySmart mobile application, consumers can access the FlySmart website (www.flysmart.my) which is available in English and Bahasa Malaysia as well as dedicated FlySmart Facebook and Instagram pages. The consumer-focused FlySmart was introduced in June last year through its website and social media platforms to enable consumers to have easier access to tips and information on their rights as well as to make it easier for them to lodge their complaints to MAVCOM.
The full amendments to the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection (Amendment) Code 2019 can be found on the Legislations page of the MAVCOM website at www.mavcom.my.