AirAsia, AirAsia X, MAHB slapped with fines for non-compliance

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 10): Aviation regulator Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) slapped low cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd and its associate AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) with a fine of RM200,000 each for charging credit and debit card and online banking processing fees separate from their base fares between June 1 and Aug 9.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) was also not spared, as its subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MA Sepang) was slapped with a RM1.18 million fine for not complying with the Airports Quality of Service (QoS) Framework at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and klia2 in Sepang.

All three companies had received letters from the commission on the imposition of the financial penalties last Friday (Sept 6).

In a statement today, the commission said AirAsia and AAX were penalised for charging credit card, debit card and online banking processing fees separate from their base fares, which contravenes the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC).

The MACPC came into force on July 1, 2016, and was enhanced with amendments that took effect on June 1.

“From June 1, the commission has been monitoring for compliance with the new provisions of the MACPC. AirAsia and AAX have been found to contravene subparagraph 3(2) 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,” the regulator said.

Meanwhile, MA Sepang was penalised for not meeting selected Airports QoS targets set by Mavcom in the first quarter of 2019. Under the law, it is authorised to impose an amount not exceeding 5% of MA Sepang’s annual turnover.

The QoS framework was implemented on KLIA and klia2 on Sept 1, 2018.

After taking MA Sepang’s written representation and factors submitted for the purposes of mitigating the quantum of the financial penalty into consideration, the commission has decided to impose a penalty of RM1.18 million on MA Sepang.

“Air traffic in Malaysia today numbers at more than 100 million passengers per year. Given this large consumer base, the commission has set in place, the MACPC and Airports QoS Framework, which are regulation that are designed to protect the rights and interests of the aviation consumers, as well as a means to increase the level of services in the industry," said Mavcom executive chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi.

“These actions are also intended to move the aviation industry in Malaysia towards an improved level of service, integrity and transparency, in line with MAVCOM’s long term objectives for the industry,” he added.

At 3.42pm, AirAsia shares were unchanged at RM1.82, giving it a market capitalisation of RM6.08 billion. AAX shares were up 0.5 sen or 2.94% at 17.5 sen, for a market capitalisation of RM725.93 million.

MAHB shares were up 7 sen or 0.82% at RM8.57, bringing a market value of RM14.22 billion.