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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on March 14, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd replaced AirAsia Bhd to emerge as the top contributor of consumer complaints filed with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) last year.

The commission said it received in 2017 the most number of complaints about Malaysia Airlines at 44.8%; followed by AirAsia at 21.4% and Malindo Air at 20.2%.

“A total of 1,356 complaints were received in 2017, with 1,338 complaints about airlines and 18 about airports. This marked an increase of 89.4% compared with 2016 where Mavcom received 716 complaints, though there is only 10-month data for 2016, considering that the commission was set up in March 2016,” said the commission in its consumer complaints summary for 2017 yesterday.

“Complaints about Rayani Air have been excluded from this report as it no longer holds an air service licence,” it added.

“A total of 99.6% of the complaints received in 2017 have been resolved and closed by Mavcom. Based on the commission’s review, more than half or 52% of the complaints were found to have merit, resulting in the airline reversing its initial decision for amicable resolution with the consumers,” it said.

For the six-month period of July to December 2017, Mavcom said a total of 735 complaints were received, with 721 complaints about airlines and 14 about airports. This figure is up 23.1% from the July to December 2016 period when Mavcom received 586 complaints.

Malaysia Airlines represented 39.6% of the total complaints received by the commission, rising to 291 complaints compared with 157 complaints for the same period in 2016.

“AirAsia and Malindo Air represented 23% and 22.9% of total complaints received respectively. However, the total number of complaints filed against AirAsia during the period decreased by 23.9%, while complaints against Malindo Air saw a 46.1% jump,” said Mavcom.

Mishandled baggage, processing of refunds and flight delays represented 63.3% of the nature of complaints received by Mavcom during this period.

Consumers also lodged complaints with regard to airport facilities and services. The Kuala Lumpur International Airport and klia2 in Sepang received the bulk of complaints, followed by airports in Sabah and Sarawak.

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