The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MavCom) fined AirAsia Bhd and its sister long-haul budget airline AirAsia X Bhd 200,000 ringgit ($47,900) each for charging credit card, debit card and online banking processing fees separate from their base fares.
In a statement on Tuesday, MavCom said the fees charged by the two airlines contravened the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC).
The MACPC came into effect on July 1,2016, it said, and was published in line with MavCom’s aim to protect the rights and interests of consumers.
MavCom said as the first consumer protection code specifically intended for Malaysia’s aviation industry, the MACPC ultimately provides for more transparency on aviation service providers’ obligations towards consumers and clearer guidance for consumers on their rights and interests as air travellers.
The MACPC was enhanced with amendments that took effect on June 1 to further protect consumers’ interests.
MavCom said from June 1, it had been monitoring for compliance with the new provisions of the MACPC.
“AirAsia and AirAsia X have been found to contravene subparagraph 3 of the MACPC which requires full disclosure of the final price of the airfare.
“As part of the due process to determine whether a contravention has been committed, MavCom issued show-cause letters to both airlines and afforded opportunities to the airlines to provide factors to mitigate the quantum of the penalties.”
MavCom said that Section 69(4) of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 [Act 771] together with paragraph 22 of the MACPC empowered it to impose a financial penalty for a non-compliance of the MACPC, an amount not exceeding 200,000 ringgit and in the case of a second or subsequent non-compliance, an amount ten times of the financial penalty which was imposed for the first non-compliance.
“Upon thorough evaluation and taking into consideration the written representations by the airlines, the commission has imposed on AirAsia and AirAsia X a penalty of 200,000 ringgit each for the first violation of subparagraph 3 of the MACPC, for the period commencing June 1, 2019 to August 9, 2019,” it said. THE STAR (MALAYSIA)