The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) is currently working on amending the current Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC) to strengthen consumer protection for air travellers. One of the biggest proposed changes is ensuring passengers are refunded in the original mode of payment. This means passengers who have paid for their flight tickets via credit card must receive their refunds back to their credit card instead of vouchers or non-transferrable credits.
During a media engagement held today, MAVCOM shared that if the consumer protection code is gazetted, it will take precedence over the airlines’ terms and conditions. This means airlines will not be able to impose restrictive terms and conditions to avoid refunding passengers in their original mode of payment in the event of a flight disruption or cancellation.
However, before the consumer code takes effect, there are still many processes that need go to through. MAVCOM has held a consultative session last year and there’s a robust process leading to the gazettement. It aims to have a follow-up session with the airlines this month and it hopes to get internal approvals soon. It aims to gazette the proposed amended consumer code by mid-2023 and it has to go thru the Attorney General Chambers. It doesn’t go through parliament as the amendment falls under the Ministry of Transport.
Besides getting a refund in the original mode of payment, the proposed code also includes a provision for airlines to offer the option of a refund when a flight is delayed for 2 hours and more. It also proposes allowing a full refund for flight cancellation by the consumer at least 7 days prior to the departure date and time, with a cancellation fee of up to 10% of the flight ticket.
The MACPC was first gazetted in June 2016 and it was enforced on July 2016. It was later enhanced in 2019 to safeguard travellers’ welfare while raising overall service levels in the aviation industry. According to MAVCOM, Malaysia is the first country to develop a Consumer Code which defines minimum service levels and standards, including for persons with disability. Airlines and aviation service providers can be fined up to RM200,000 for non-compliance with the MACPC. The MACPC applies not just to Malaysian-based airlines but also to international airlines both full-service and low-cost carriers operating into or out of Malaysia.
MAVCOM currently has several channels for consumers to exercise their rights which include the MAVCOM website as well as FlySmart website and apps (Google Play, Apple App Store). Consumers can also call MAVCOM at 1-800-6966 (within Malaysia).
You can view the proposed amendments to MACPC here.