KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — The excuse given by AirAsia over frequent flight disruptions and last minute rescheduling is unacceptable and the budget carrier must be held responsible for the inconvenience caused to its passengers, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said.
In a statement today, Yii urged the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) to penalise AirAsia over the issue, citing the inconvenience to its paying passengers.
“AirAsia released a statement apologising for the problem and giving the excuse that they have insufficient aircraft and may need necessary repairs and maintenance after not being used for a long time especially during the movement control order (MCO) period. The delay is also due to the long waiting queue for aircraft maintenance facilities for Malaysia and the region, and that these aircrafts that are flying must be repaired before they can fly again.
“While safety and security of the planes and passengers are of utmost importance, the company should have anticipated this and if they are aware that they have insufficient planes, they should not have opened up for all those tickets to be sold to the public.
“If they knowingly know they cannot meet their demand, they should not have allowed the tickets to be sold which ended up causing so much inconvenience, delay and even economic loss to the public,” Dr Yii added.
Dr Yii added that for consumers, the chaos caused by AirAsia can be interpreted as a form of “misrepresentation” if customers get rescheduled to a different time after purchasing their tickets for a specific time.
He said that he had received a complaint on how a customer booked his ticket online and within a few hours, he received an SMS informing him that his flight had been rescheduled.
“Mind you, the flight was in two weeks time and they already know it will be delayed with two more weeks to go. If they can foresee the problem, why sell those tickets in the first place? Customers not just suffer loss of that flight, but many have other connecting flights with other airlines which had to be changed due to changes in the AirAsia flight schedule.
“That is why Mavcom must hold the airlines accountable to this. Necessary action must be taken and MAvcom must be more proactive in taking action and not allow this to happen, as this problem has been happening since April. I reiterate my call yesterday for quick action upon the matter as well as a long-term policy in place to ensure that this does not happen and airlines are kept accountable towards their set schedule,” he added.
Dr Yii said that while the government has announced an investigation into the matter, it should not be an excuse to delay the necessary action.
He added that there is no need for a lengthy investigation as flight records and data which serves as an evidence of constant delays and rescheduling are already available.
On Monday, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) said that it will conduct an investigation into AirAsia’s delays and rescheduling, national news agency Bernama reported.
Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said that the issue of flight delays to various destinations in the country had been detected since the end of last month and was still ongoing.
“KPDNHEP will continue to conduct investigations from the aspect of consumers’ interest and work with the Transport Ministry to resolve this issue and ensure it does not continue,” he said via Twitter.
He also reminded consumers of their right to claim compensation to continue their journey, adding that this was subject to several factors and reasons for flight delays or cancellations, based on information from the Mavcom website.
The compensation may include meals, phone calls and internet access (for delays of two hours or more); hotel accommodation and transportation (for delays of five hours or more); and a full refund or alternative flight if the original flight is cancelled.