Mavcom upholds consumers’ interest, fair competition over airlines’ profit

Malaysian Aviation Commission logo

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) insists that the welfare and interest of consumers as well as fair competition should take precedence over profit of an airline company.

Mavcom said this today in response to an article in The Malay Mail titled ‘Mavcom rejects AirAsia’s application for more KL-Haikou, KK-Sandakan flights’ dated June 11, 2018.

The Commission clarified that the allocation of air traffic rights (ATR) followed a process that had been discussed in close consultation and finalised after taking into consideration airlines’ views, including AirAsia’s.

On the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan route and the Kuala Lumpur-Haikou route as mentioned by the English daily, Mavcom said it made its decisions based on an extensive number of factors.

“In the case of the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan, this route was served by AirAsia (18 weekly trips), Malaysia Airlines (seven weekly trips) and MASwings (21 weekly trips) as at December 2017. On January 29, 2018, the Commission approved AirAsia’s application for seven additional trips per week, bringing the total number of trips for AirAsia for this particular route to 25 weekly trips.

“In February 2018, AirAsia applied for a further additional seven weekly trips on this route which the Commission did not approve because of a risk of overcapacity that would inconvenience consumers.”

As for the Kuala Lumpur-Haikou route, this route was served by Malaysia Airlines (two weekly trips) and Malindo Air (two weekly trips) as at December 2017. AirAsia had previously operated this route but terminated its services in 2012.

“On February 21, 2018, AirAsia applied to operate seven weekly trips on this route, and the Commission awarded AirAsia four weekly trips on April 3, 2018. The decision to approve four weekly trips instead of seven was similarly due to the Commission’s concern for overcapacity of seats and subsequent impact on consumers.”

It said the Commission had also indicated to AirAsia that it could resubmit its application for both routes in October 2018.

Mavcom said in allocating ATRs, it wished to facilitate orderly growth while also considering the risk of overcapacity (where the supply of seats far exceeds passenger demand) on a particular route.

“Ill-effects of route overcapacity include heightened risks of unutilised seats, which in turn could lead to flight cancellations and merging of flights, which are detrimental to passenger convenience.

“In addition, overcapacity gives rise to a risk of a carrier exiting a route, and, therefore, lessening competition and consumer choice on that route in the long term.

“We urge consumers to exercise their rights as an air traveller in Malaysia as provided by the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (which was introduced by MAVCOM in July 2016) and approach the Commission should there be any contravention of their rights.”

Mavcom revealed that as at April 30, 2018, it had awarded 397 ATRs to Malaysian carriers since its initiation, of which 295 were utilised by the carriers, while 102 were either not used or subsequently surrendered back to the Commission. — DayakDaily