Airline passengers have avenue under Consumer Protection Code

aeroplane-1KUALA LUMPUR: The Consumer Protection Code 2016, which came into effect on July 1, gives the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) authority over consumer issues relating to the industry. Travellers with complaints can contact Mavcom, under the Code, and it will in turn liaise with the airline operator concerned to seek a solution.

Mavcom can investigate any consumer complaint it receives against airline operators.

SunBiz, which sighted a copy of the Code, has reported that all aviation service providers in Malaysia have to provide minimum service levels and standards in meeting consumer requirements, handling complaints and compensation.

Airline operators risk fines of not more than RM200,000 under the Code which also provides stiffer penalties, up to ten times the first penalty, for second and subsequent infringements.

Among others, the Code prohibits post-purchase price increases, automatic add-on services, and discrimination against passengers with disabilities. Passengers also have rights in the case of lost, damaged, or delayed baggage, flight delays, cancellations, and if denied the right to board an aircraft for a flight.

“Now, you have a place to file your complaint. The commission will take action against the airlines on behalf of the consumers,” an analyst, who declined to be named, told SunBiz.

MIDF Research analyst Tay Yow Ken who agreed said the Code however will not add much, by way of costs, for airline operators.

Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research analyst Daniel Wong begs to differ and cautioned that airline operators may face increases in the cost of doing business. “They need to adhere to the possible new regulations and the operational cost in terms of compliance may be higher,” he pointed out.