Govt urged to close loopholes to ensure proper compensation for customers affected by flight delays, cancellations

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, May 12: The government must review all necessary laws and regulations to ensure the required compensation is given to airline customers and the general public affected by flight cancellations, rescheduling and delays, opines Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Yuen.

Dr Yii in a statement today said in order to holistically address the issue and avoid a continued repetition of constant rescheduling and delayed flights, there is a need to amend the law which governs flight “delays” so that it also includes terminology such as “rescheduled”, “retimed” and other legal terminology related to making it mandatory for airlines to provide compensation to passengers.

“Currently, there may be loopholes to the law. A simple check on the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) website, it is very clearly stated that only flight delays and cancellation is entitled to compensation,” he said.

Dr Yii pointed out that Malaysian Consumer Protection Code Clause 12 also clearly states that only flight delays and cancellation are covered.

According to him, the risk here is that airlines companies may get creative with terminology and use terms such as “retimed” and “rescheduled” that may not be covered under the ambit of the law.

He emphasised that it also must be ensure that the ‘coverage of more than 6 hours delay’ does not only apply to those who have bought insurance.

“That is why, the government may have to adopt the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation that was passed in 2004 to better protect the consumers.

“Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of February 11, 2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.

“The regulation provides passengers with protection against travel disruption, and also serves as an incentive for the airlines to maintain a more punctual operation,” he said.

Secondly, he continued, Mavcom and all aviation regulatory bodies must be pro-active to properly monitor and enforce the law against aviation companies if they do not comply.

He said a good law is only as good as its enforcement and the airlines must be kept accountable to the flight schedule they have set and only be allowed a certain threshold of reasonable scheduling or delays.

Ha also said Mavcom must constantly monitor available data and flight schedules and once that threshold is crossed, Mavcom must act immediately and keep the companies accountable.

“They shouldn’t be only “fire-fighting” and only react when there is a surge in public complaints and but instead be pro-active in addressing the issue.

“If the any industry is not kept accountable by regulators, they will continue doing the necessary to their advantage.

“That is why I really urge the government to address this issue holistically for the benefit of the consumers. Malaysians deserve better service and similar consumer protections. An “after the fact” apology when the problem happens is not enough,” he added. — DayakDaily