KUCHING (Feb 8): The rescheduling of flights is inevitable in the airline industry for various operational circumstances, said state Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.
However, he said the airline is obliged to provide sufficient notice as well as provide the first available alternative flight or a full refund to affected passengers.
“Affected passengers (should) make further complaint to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) – the regulator for aviation development in Malaysia – if they have issues in getting back their air ticket refunded,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said this could be done through Mavcom’s website https://flysmart.my/en/make-a-complaint/.
On Monday, Lee attended a short briefing by Hamdan Mohamad, who is AirAsia Berhad’s government relations officer based in Sarawak, on the realignment of AirAsia Berhad’s direct flight between Penang and Kuching.
The briefing was also attended by the Ministry of Transport Sarawak head of aviation Zulkarnain Rosli.
According to the statement further, Hamdan said the management of AirAsia Berhad had made a decision to suspend Penang-Kuching direct flight operations effective March 1 this year.
“AirAsia Berhad will be realigned with a stopover or ‘FlyThru’ Kuala Lumpur before flying to Kuching and vice-versa.
“Passengers affected by the realignment and had booked their air-ticket earlier will have three options, where they can opt to take a free change of flight according to the new route through Kuala Lumpur, or get their air ticket refunded with credit in their AirAsia account, or get cash refund credited direct to their personal bank account,” it said.
The statement said the ministry recognises the decision made by the AirAsia Berhad management especially with half of their aircraft still scheduled for maintenance.
“With AirAsia’s move, Sarawak direct flight between Penang and Kuching will only be left with Firefly Sdn Bhd, which also operates the Penang-Kuching route with twice-daily flights.
“Passengers can also opt to take Firefly if they think the journey with AirAsia from Penang to Kuching is too long,” it said.