With airline companies rapidly depleting cash reserves and any form of subsidies to ensure survival in the current climate, the unsurprising reality is that efforts to go green have taken a step back. However, the pandemic has in a way allowed relevant industry players to pause and ponder on long-term strategies, including but not limited to the sustainability of both airline companies and, importantly, environmental protection.
The domino effect of airlines' massive lay-offs of pilots is a decrease in pilot training applications in Malaysia. One of the many flight training organisations in Malaysia has seen a 30% fall in enrolment at its eastern Malaysia centre and a 15% decrease in its western Malaysia centre. The reason for this is because the investment does not necessarily guarantee its returns.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and in a move to boost economic activity through medical tourism in Malaysia, the government has announced that it will partially reopen Malaysia's borders to medical tourists from designated green zone countries (eg, Brunei, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand), allowing them to fly in via commercial or chartered flights.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently dismissed an application by AirAsia Berhad and its long-haul sister airline, AirAsia X Berhad, for leave to commence judicial review proceedings against a financial penalty imposed by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM). This was the first time that an airline had sought to challenge a penalty imposed by MAVCOM.
On 7 June 2020 the government announced that Malaysia's Movement Control Order would enter a 'recovery phase' beginning on 10 June 2020 and ending on 31 August 2020. As a result, the Malaysian Aviation Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia recently introduced measures to ease the administrative and regulatory challenges faced by the aviation industry during the Recovery Movement Control Order period.
Drone technology is developing fast and drone popularity is growing even faster. It is crucial that drone regulations keep up to speed by undergoing periodic updates and amendments. The time is right for a comprehensive update to the rather limited drone rules in the Civil Aviation Regulations. It is also hoped that both the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia and the Ministry of Transport will keep a close eye on the development of other aeronautical projects such as the flying car.
In July 2019 the Kuala Lumpur High Court awarded a summary judgment for a combined sum exceeding RM40 million for unpaid passenger service charges in three civil suits brought by Malaysia Airports Sdn Bhd against AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad. The recently released written grounds of judgment for this matter have provided welcome clarification on several important issues for providers of aviation services.
According to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM), the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes 'extraordinary circumstances' under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code. As a result, MAVCOM is temporarily providing some leeway in terms of how airlines can respond to passenger refund requests. However, in doing so, it may have inadvertently exposed passengers to the risk of losing their entire ticket cost.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) recently reported a bleak outlook in 2020 for the Malaysian aviation services market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MAVCOM foresees that the significant decline in tourist arrivals and receipts, passenger traffic and revenue due to lower air travel demand could be made worse if the pandemic proves hard to contain, leading to prolonged travel restrictions. This article outlines government initiatives to support the aviation industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the Malaysian economy during this period of uncertainty and crisis depends on national-level efforts to contain the virus. Until then, the global restrictions imposed on travel will continue to severely undermine the aviation industry, possibly to the extent of necessitating government intervention in the market. It would be prudent for the government to consider the Malaysian Aviation Commission's position when conducting any cost-benefit analysis of measures or aid.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) recently announced that it had imposed RM2 million fines on AirAsia Berhad and its long-haul sister airline AirAsia X Berhad. MAVCOM further announced that it had imposed an RM856,875 penalty on Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd, which is the operator of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The fines come at a time of considerable uncertainty for MAVCOM and the Malaysian aviation industry.
Malaysia's International Aviation Safety Assessment air safety rating was recently downgraded from Category 1 to Category 2 by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As a result, all Malaysian airlines are now restricted from adding new flights to the United States, although existing flights will be allowed to continue under heightened FAA surveillance and checks. The downgrade also means that reciprocal code-sharing arrangements between US and Malaysian airlines are no longer permitted.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission Protection Code 2016 was recently amended. The amendments, which considered feedback from consumers and consultations with industry players, aim to promote greater transparency and fairness in dealings between airlines and passengers, which should allow consumers to enjoy monetary savings and make more informed decisions.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission recently imposed RM200,000 fines on two airline operators for charging credit card, debit card and online banking processing fees separately from their base fares in breach of the Aviation Consumer Protection Code. The commission also issued a RM1.179 million fine to airport operator Malaysian Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd for failing to meet several service level requirements regarding airport users under the Implementation of the Airports Quality of Service Framework Directive.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently granted summary judgment for a combined sum exceeding RM40 million for outstanding passenger service charges. In coming to this decision, the court dealt with the jurisdiction of the nation's aviation regulator to resolve disputes between aviation service providers prescribed under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court recently dismissed a judicial review leave application brought by AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad (collectively, AirAsia) against the Malaysian Aviation Commission, with Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd being named as the second respondent. AirAsia argued that the passenger service charge rates prescribed in the regulations were ceiling rates rather than fixed rates and, as such, AirAsia was not required to pay the revised amount.
The Civil Aviation (Security) Regulations 2019 (Security Regulations) recently entered into force. Among other things, the regulations have established new aviation security authorities, implemented national security programmes and introduced new security and screening controls. Passengers, operators (including aerodrome operators), ground handlers and other persons who fail to comply with the Security Regulations could face a fine of up to RM200,000 or up to five years' imprisonment (or both).
A Bangladeshi man was recently caught committing lewd acts on a flight departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is unclear whether the criminal laws in Malaysia could apply in this case, as available news reports have not yet provided sufficient information. However, assuming that Malaysian criminal laws apply, the man's curious actions may contravene several Malaysian statutes, including the Penal Code.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) Act 2015 enables MAVCOM to serve as the economic regulator for civil aviation in Malaysia, with the goal of promoting a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry which supports the nation's economic growth. The first amendment to the act recently came into force. Among other things, it makes changes to the definition of 'air traffic right', expands MAVCOM's powers and imposes financial penalties.
As air travel becomes more accessible to the public, especially with the proliferation of low-cost travel options, the issue of safeguarding consumers' interests has attracted increasing attention. The government has chosen to regulate airline service standards by introducing the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code. The code aims to strike the right balance between protecting passengers and industry competitiveness.