12 September 2019
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) today defended its functionality and reiterated that the agency over the years had amplified initiatives in benefiting consumers and industry players.
The aviation regulator was responding to AirAsia founder and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ statements on his LinkedIn saying the commission is a dysfunctional entity.
MAVCOM executive chairman Dr Nungsari Radhi said the commission had introduced Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (2016) (MACPC), to ensure consumers pay for services that they opt for.
“We have also eliminated hidden charges such as the second terminal at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (klia2) fee. Payment processing fees cannot be charged separately from the base fare,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Nungsari believe the measures taken resulted in greater transparency allowing consumers to enjoy monetary savings and make more informed decisions.
“We also believe aviation consumer complaints are now being taken more seriously, and refunds will be reimbursed to passengers within 30 days from the date of request,” he added.
He said MAVCOM’s work with the industry was also substantial, citing that from January 2018 to August 2019, the commission had issued over 93 per cent of Air Traffic Rights (ATR) applied by airlines.
“AirAsia is in fact a major beneficiary with more than 50 per cent of all ATRs awarded during this period being allocated to them.
“We further note that 24 per cent of these ATRs granted to AirAsia was returned to us as they were unutilised,” he said.
The commission had also introduced a robust licensing application process to ensure only serious, capable and prepared applicants were considered, Dr Nungsari said.
“We have even protected the interests of consumers affected by the failure of an airline whose license was awarded prior to MAVCOM’s establishment,” he said.
Dr Nungsari said MAVCOM had implemented the Airports Quality of Service (QoS) to elevate service standards at airports.
“We have been working with the industry and capital markets in implementing the internationally recognised Regulated Asset Base Framework (a methodology for calculating airport charges) in Malaysia amongst others,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said MAVCOM had introduced FlySmart, a consumer-centric initiative to champion consumer rights in the aviation sector.
“The focus is to drive awareness, educate, and empower travellers of their rights.
“Today, the Malaysian public will be able to access information on their rights as traveller through various mediums, including via the FlySmart website and mobile app,” he said.
He said MAVCOM team comprises former employees of airlines (including AirAsia), airports, other regulatory bodies, private sector and civil service.
“We are ably qualified professionals comprising amongst others aviation professionals, financial analysts, economists and lawyers. Despite external pressures, we believe they have delivered much good to the consumers and industry,” he said.
Dr Nungsari said the commission’s role was to ensure its work benefits the industry overall and not any one specific player.
“We have consciously worked towards that objective and will continue to do so.”
On September 9, Fernandes said MAVCOM had failed to discharge its duties effectively and fairly.
He said MAVCOM had introduced time-consuming and bureaucratic policies, while dictating airlines’ commercial decisions and that the commission’s formation has added an unnecessary cost burden to travellers.
Moreover, Fernandes also said MAVCOM has yet to introduce Service Level Agreements (SLA) between airport operators and airlines, lacks understanding and appreciation of the low-cost model.
He said MAVCOM’s senior management have conflicts of interest and are resistant to change, while adding that the commission’s functions are duplicative and can simply be assumed by other existing authorities.
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