Malaysia Airlines and budget carrier AirAsia must take immediate measures to cut down on flight delays, the government warned, following increasing complaints from travelers, a news report said Thursday. Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said he was receiving complaints “almost every day” about delays, which affect about 13% of Malaysia Airlines flights and 12% of AirAsia flights, The Star reported.
Malaysia Airlines considers 15 minutes beyond the scheduled departure time as delays, while AirAsia’s definition of delay is 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time. The total number of flights operated by the carriers were not immediately available.
“Lately, it’s quite serious and very rampant,” Chan said in the Star report. “I have told both airlines that they must find ways and means to cut down on the delays and improve their performance…We will monitor them closely.”
Chan said airline officials cited air traffic congestion, aircraft rotation, passengers who check in but fail to show up, technical glitches and bad weather for current delays, but added that the government found all except the last two as poor excuses.
He said the ministry would meet Malaysia Airports (5014.KU), the company that manages the international airports in the country, to discuss improving air traffic control time.
Tourism Minister Adnan Mansor said foreign visitors were complaining to his ministry about the delays, which affected their travel plans or prevented them from catching connecting flights at different locations.
“The airlines will have to look at their schedules and find the root cause of the problem,” he was quoted as saying.
Neither minister’s aides were available Thursday morning for comment on the report. The report did not say what action could be taken against the airline companies if they do not reduce the delays.
An AirAsia spokeswoman reached by The Associated Press was not immediately able to provide further details.