Malaysia’s First International Aviation Webinar on Consumer Protection
MAVCOM Charts a New Frontier in Aviation Consumer Protection
KUALA LUMPUR, 28 June 2022 – With the aviation industry continuing to evolve, particularly amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) today held its inaugural international aviation webinar entitled, “Charting a New Frontier: Aviation Consumer Protection Needs Today and Beyond”.
A first for Malaysia, the hybrid webinar was launched by the Minister of Transport, Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong, and was aimed at providing an interactive platform for industry players as well as industry and consumer experts to converge. During the webinar, participants were able to explore the latest developments in aviation consumer protection as well as future trends. More importantly, the webinar looked to enhance the public’s understanding pertaining to the rights of air travellers. The webinar was also graced by the Deputy Minister of Transport, Dato Henry Sum Agong, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Transport, Datuk Isham Ishak.
With over 250 participants gathered both online and on-the-ground at ACE Convention Centre, the webinar featured key topics including the evolution of consumer protection regulations for air travel before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic; the elevation of travel experiences in the face of the accelerated pace of digitalisation; as well as ensuring the continued growth of the aviation sector and protection of consumers.
Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano, Council President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) provided his special welcoming remarks at the webinar, which saw a selection of panellists comprising renowned experts including Mr. Michael Gill, Director of Legal Bureau, ICAO, and Mr. Peter Alawani, Chief Economic Regulatory Framework Section, Air Transport Bureau, ICAO; Mr. Stefano Baronci, Director General, Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific; Mr. Vinoop Goel, Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Airports and External Relations, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Mr. Olivier Waldner, Deputy Head of Unit Passenger Rights, Directorate General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission; Mr. Soukkhongthong Voraphet, Director of Air Transport Division, Department of Civil Aviation of Lao PDR; Ms. Amna Arshad, Head of US Aviation Regulatory Practice, Special Counsel, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Furthermore, the panel speaker comprises MAVCOM’s very own Director of Consumer Affairs, Madam Pushpalatha Subramaniam, and Consumer Protection Committee Member, Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Sothi Rachagan.
In addition, the panel sessions were joined by esteemed academicians, Prof. Dr. Jae Woon (June) Lee, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and Mr. Ridha Aditya Nugraha, Aviation & Space Law Consultant, Universitas Prasetiya Mulya. The line-up of panel speakers also included the President of the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), En. Mohideen Abdul Kader, President, Consumers Association of Penang and Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA), Mr. Saravanan Thambirajah.
Minister of Transport, Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong said, “With the resumption and continued rise in air travel both locally and globally, a solid understanding of aviation consumer protection and its evolution is integral to the recovery of the industry. This is particularly relevant given the rapid pace of digitalisation, which has not only facilitated greater access to information but has also called for the industry to devise new and innovative solutions in air travel to ensure the continued protection of consumer rights.
I commend the Commission for its timely initiative, which has provided an excellent avenue for thought leaders in aviation and consumer protection to come together to reflect upon current and future developments. The meaningful discourse this webinar has sparked will inevitably lead to an enhanced sector with better consumer protection safeguards in place. Beyond this webinar, Malaysia, as one of the main aviation hubs in the ASEAN region, will continue to lead the way in shaping an efficient, and sustainable global civil aviation industry.”
The Executive Chairman of MAVCOM, Datuk Seri Hj. Saripuddin Hj. Kassim said, “The Commission organised this international webinar to explore how governments, regulators, aviation service providers, as well as experts in aviation and consumer protection, can do more in protecting consumer rights while maintaining industry competitiveness at the same time. With the information shared via the webinar, our hope is for both industry players and consumers alike to benefit from an enhanced understanding of consumer rights, which will contribute to improvements in consumer protection standards as well as stronger consumer confidence within the aviation industry.
MAVCOM is also enhancing the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC) based on consumer feedback and key learnings during the pandemic. The enhancements include increased consumer protection in the case of unprecedented circumstances, as well as new provisions to regulate travel passes, along with the restructuring or liquidation of airlines and its impact on passengers, amongst others.”