KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) is giving airlines some leeway in resolving complaints and providing refunds to consumers due to the challenges faced by the airlines following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC), airlines are required to resolve complaints and provide refunds to consumers within 30 days from the receipt of the complaints.
"Given the prevailing circumstances and in the spirit of facilitating the industry, the commission is temporarily providing some leeway in terms of the time they need to respond and complete refund requests,” MAVCOM said in a statement today.
It said that passenger travel has plummeted due to the pandemic, which has affected airline revenues and cashflows.
"To date, airlines operating in Malaysia have indicated a cancellation of approximately 13.6 million seats, or 12.3 per cent of annual scheduled operations.
"The Malaysian carriers have correspondingly received an inordinately high volume of passenger refund requests, which their resources are currently striving to manage,” it said.
MAVCOM said under the MACPC, consumers may receive compensations for flight disruptions caused by airlines.
However, this regulation does not apply where the flight disruption is due to extraordinary circumstances outside of the airline’s control.
"The COVID-19 containment measures involve national quarantines and travel bans, not only in Malaysia, but countries worldwide, and these situations are deemed as extraordinary circumstances.
"At the same time, to ensure that consumer interests remain protected, MAVCOM is requiring the airlines to resolve complaints and refund requests as soon as possible on best efforts basis, and we shall monitor the airlines’ performance,” it said.
The commission urged consumers to refer to its list of frequently asked question on https://www.mavcom.my/en/consumer/flysmart/ for information on refund requests.
"We also strongly encourage consumers to refer to the website of the respective carriers to ascertain the terms of any refund requests,” it added.