KUALA LUMPUR: Customers who are affected by the sudden suspension of MYAirline's operations can request for a refund through the “chargeback” process if their travel dates have passed, says Anthony Loke.
The Transport Minister also said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has engaged Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) regarding the refunds to affected travellers.
“BNM confirmed that passengers who purchased tickets using credit cards, debit cards and ‘direct debit’ (FPX) can seek refunds through a ‘chargeback’ process if their travel dates have passed.
“Passengers can do this by contacting MYAirline or reaching out to their respective banks,” said Loke during his winding up speech at policy stage debates for Budget 2024 in Parliament on Thursday (Nov 2).
Loke said the Transport Ministry and Mavcom are closely monitoring the situation and it will ensure that all complaints and issues raised by affected travellers can be fully resolved, according to provisions under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016.
“MYAirline also gave a guarantee to Mavcom that it will fulfil its obligations to refund affected customers,” added Loke.
At the same time, Loke said the Air Service Licence (ASL) was granted to MYAirline for 12 months beginning Nov 2022, while the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was granted from Oct 1 last year till Sept 30 this year by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).
Loke said the ASL was approved after taking into account MYAirline’s business plans and company ability from its commercial and financial aspects.
“The licence went through stringent and thorough evaluation that covers market forecasts at a global, regional and domestic market forecast, feasibility studies," he said.
Loke also said the fit and proper assessment, as well as board of directors experience and the management of the company was also assessed to determine a company’s competency and its ability to handle an aviation company.
“When the ASL was awarded to MYAirline, Mavcom also had a requirement where the said company must have positive equity that can sustain a period of at least three to six months.
“Based on Mavcom’s evaluation then, companies and shareholders had strong financial ability to start flight operations as planned,” said Loke.
However, since MYAirline started operations on Dec 1 last year, Loke said operational costs for airlines increased drastically due to the rise of the US dollar.
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According to Loke, MYAirline’s business plan had projected the value of the US dollar compared to ringgit at RM4.30 per US$1, compared to the actual value in September which was RM4.68 per US$1.
“Most of MYAirline transactions are in the US currency, including aircraft lease payments and fuel, which increased from US$113 per barrel to US$131 per barrel,” said Loke.
Loke also said that Mavcom’s analysis on MYAirline’s operations and finances on Oct 3 showed that the troubled airline did not show any signs of financial problems.
“MYAirline also informed Mavcom on Oct 9 that they are trying to finalise the sale of its shares to new investors.
“However, until the cancellation of its operations, MYAirlines still hadn’t finalised the sales,” said Loke.
On Oct 12, MYAirline announced an abrupt suspension of its operations, citing financial pressures less than 11 months after it began operations.
The cancellation of the airline’s 40 flights stranded thousands of passengers on that day.
According to MYAirline interim accountable executive Datuk Seri Azharuddin Rahman on Oct 17, the financial issue arose after its investors pulled the rug from under the company at the eleventh hour.
Azharuddin said the company did not have a contingency plan, leading to the halt of operations.
Currently, 125,000 passengers are awaiting refunds amounting to RM22mil for tickets they purchased, while over 900 of its employees have yet to receive their salaries since September.
On Nov 1, Mavcom also announced that it decided to suspend the ASL of MYAirlines effective immediately.