Numbers out on Raya flight delays

KUALA LUMPUR: Investigations into flight delays during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri travel period showed nearly 500 flights were delayed by over one hour while 119 flights were delayed beyond two hours, says the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

Mavcom said the investigations involved the analysis of data on flight schedule disruptions submitted by airlines and airport operators.

“Based on our initial findings, more than 6,000 domestic flights were operated by Malaysian carriers throughout the Hari Raya Aidilfitri travelling period from April 29 to May 9, compared with 8,000 domestic flights during the same travelling period in June 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Of the total flights operated during the recent Hari Raya travelling period, 8% or 495 flights recorded delays beyond one hour,” it said, adding that AirAsia operated a total of 2,954 flights, out of which 13% (368 flights) experienced delays of more than one hour.

Mavcom said this was followed by Malaysia Airlines which operated 1,447 flights with 3% (44 flights) facing delays.

“MASwings operated 656 flights with 10% (64 flights) delayed, Firefly operated 680 flights with 2% (15 flights) delayed while Batik Air (previously known as Malindo Air) operated 555 flights with 1% (four flights) delayed,” it added.

As for flight delays beyond two hours, Mavcom’s initial analysis showed 71% (119 flights) were delayed due to operational factors including lack of standby aircraft, unscheduled night stops due to crew legality hours and consequential late arrivals.

“This was followed by technical factors such as damage to aircraft, non-scheduled maintenance and lack of spares or maintenance equipment, which collectively contributed to 25% (41 flights) of delays.

“Both operational and technical factors contributed to 96% (160 flights) of delays beyond two hours during the travelling period,” it said, adding that other factors include bad weather conditions.

The commission said it was undertaking a further investigation into the provision of care for 160 flight delays beyond two hours to ascertain if the necessary care, as stipulated under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC), was provided to consumers.

“Consumers affected by flight delays due to operational and technical factors require the provision of meals, telephone calls and Internet access for delays of two hours or more, as well as accommodation and transport, if a stay becomes necessary, for delays of five hours or more,” it said.

Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim said the MACPC was put in place to ensure the rights of air travel consumers are protected and that airlines must abide by the law.

“Consumers should be automatically offered care as per the MACPC.

“Currently, we are validating the justifications provided by relevant airlines over the provision of care during flight delays within the period under review.

“Mavcom will not hesitate to exercise our powers if the justifications do not fulfil the requirements of the MACPC,” he said, adding that depending on the nature and extent of any non-compliance, airlines might face a penalty of up to RM200,000 for the first offence, and 10 times the fine of its previous offence for a second or subsequent non-compliance of the MACPC.

He said as an economic and commercial regulator for the aviation industry, it was Mavcom’s duty to ensure an objective, in-depth investigation was carried out before any action.

“We aim to support a commercially viable and resilient civil aviation industry while empowering consumers to protect their rights as air travel consumers,” he added.

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