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ScandaSky - Malaysian authorities ban "airline."

Publication: 
Bryan Edwards
chiefofficersnet

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) announced this afternoon that new entrant into the flights market, ScandaSky, must cease marketing its services and stop marketing itself as an airline.

MAVCOM's press release dated today says "The Commission has issued a warning letter to Scanda Sky instructing it to cease marketing its services as well as advertising itself as a commercial airline." The full text of the press notice is below.

As of the time of writing, ScandaSky's website is still offering booking services. This image shows the special offer pop up, the website proper and a booking page.

Despite the image of an aircraft in a ScandaSky livery, it is understood that the inaugural flight from regional airport Ipoh to the former Canton ariport (now known as Guangzhou sometimes thought of as Hong Kong North) in China was in fact operated by Malaysian Airlines (MH) with an MH crew. The website describes ScandaSky as "Scanda Sky PLT is a new airplane (sic) charter company that is led by young, experienced and energetic entrepreneurs with a vision of becoming an innovative boutique airline in the next 2 years." It is, therefore, clear that it is not an airline but that it hopes to become one. There does seem to be some misunderstanding of exactly what it is advertising.

However, the key problem is one of licensing: MAVCOM says "The Commission wishes to make clear that Scanda Sky is neither a holder of an Air Service License (“ASL”) nor Air Service Permit (“ASP”) issued either by the Commission under Act 771 or issued under the Civil Aviation Act 1969 [Act 3]. An ASL or ASP is required for the carriage of passengers, mail or cargo by air, for hire or reward whether it is on a scheduled or non-scheduled journey between two or more places, of which at least one location is in Malaysia. As such, Scanda Sky may have misrepresented itself to the public via the said news reports and its website that it is a Malaysian carrier permitted to operate such services."

MAVCOM is justified in its stance under this head: while the safety and security of passengers is as set by Malaysia Airlines (which, despite high-profile events, remains one of the world's safest airlines), charter flights are not covered by the same support services as those on scheduled services. To a degree, the company has taken steps to cover that difference with free travel insurance for the first few weeks of operations. However, it's not IATA cover. Then again, nor are budget airlines.

The first flight left Ipoh, north of Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday. It is not clear how anyone on that trip will get back to Malaysia.

The airline advertises two classes - Premium and Diamond. The each-way fares of MYR1420 and 2745 respectively are, by local standards expensive. Established carrier Malindo Air's KUL to CAN return, by comparison, can be had for less than MYR600 for the same dates (out 7/12, back 12.12) although that won't include luggage. Malaysia Airlines, full service, from KUL to CAN for the same dates is available for MYR1353 return. ScandaSky's USP is that every passenger will have sit next to an empty seat and, of course, passengers from around IPOH will not have to travel about two hours to get to KUL and they will have the luxury of a much smaller airport to travel in and out of.

It is likely that a trigger for MAVCOM's announcement is this from the baggage section of the website: "Most significant carrier is ScandaSky." This relates to baggage insurance and failures. But ScandaSky is not a "carrier" because it does not have the necessary licences. Also likely to be of concern is that we were unable to find any details of the legal entity (be it a company, individual or partnership) behind the service. Equally, we could not find an address or telephone number. Moreover, the splash screen offers flights for MYR0.99 during the launch month but when our researcher worked through the booking process (after MAVCOM's announcement) the price shown for a return trip was almost MYR3,000 i.e. full list price as shown above. It is possible that a discount would have been applied later in the process but it was not available at the point where our researcher did not enter name, address etc.

------ Press Notice issued by MAVCOM -----

MAVCOM Issues a warning letter to Scanda Sky

29 Nov, 2019

MAVCOM Issues a warning letter to Scanda Sky
Urges travellers to be cautious when making travel arrangements

KUALA LUMPUR, 29 November 2019: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (“MAVCOM” or the “Commission”) wishes to advise the public that Scanda Sky PLT (“Scanda Sky”) is not an airline licensed under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 [Act 771].

Based on news articles, Scanda Sky launched its inaugural flight on 27 November 2019 from Ipoh to Guangzhou, China. The Commission also notes that Scanda Sky advertises and promotes commercial scheduled flights in its website, thus suggesting it is an airline.

The Commission wishes to make clear that Scanda Sky is neither a holder of an Air Service License (“ASL”) nor Air Service Permit (“ASP”) issued either by the Commission under Act 771 or issued under the Civil Aviation Act 1969 [Act 3].

An ASL or ASP is required for the carriage of passengers, mail or cargo by air, for hire or reward whether it is on a scheduled or non-scheduled journey between two or more places, of which at least one location is in Malaysia. As such, Scanda Sky may have misrepresented itself to the public via the said news reports and its website that it is a Malaysian carrier permitted to operate such services.

The Commission understands that Scanda Sky has entered into a charter agreement with Malaysia Airlines Berhad and the flight in question was in fact operated by Malaysia Airlines Berhad.

The Commission has issued a warning letter to Scanda Sky instructing it to cease marketing its services as well as advertising itself as a commercial airline.

MAVCOM urges consumers to exercise caution accordingly when making their flight and travel arrangements to avoid inconvenience in their travel plans.

------------- Extracts from ScandaSky website --------------

SCANDA SKY FLY TWICE WEEKLY BETWEEN IPOH AND GUANGZHOU

We are now flying twice a week between the city of Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia and Guangzhou, Guangdong, China every Wednesday and Saturday; and return every Thursday and Sunday.

WHO IS SCANDA SKY?
Scanda Sky PLT is a new airplane (sic) charter company that is led by young, experienced and energetic entrepreneurs with a vision of becoming an innovative boutique airline in the next 2 years.

Scanda Sky aims to build a standout charter airline with snazzy service, active social network and a fun corporate personality.

SCANDA SKY'S VISION
Scanda Sky aims to give passengers unique experiences in the sky.

Standing out in the industry with glamorous, retro-style service paired with modern high-tech amenities.

Distinguish ourselves from stodgy airline culture with fun, flair, forward thinking.

WHY SCANDA SKY?
Service That Makes You Feel Taken Care Of From Start To Finish.
Scanda Sky Ambassadress will assist you throughout your journey. They travel with you in the plane and also assist you at the immigration checkpoint.

No Rub Shoulders
Experience comfort and space like no other airline has provided before. Enjoy the luxury of having an empty seat next to you.

Stress Free Travel
Less people, more space. Scanda Sky maximizes your comfort by limiting the number of passengers on board.

FREE INSURANCE
Free insurance for all passengers from now until December 31, 2019.

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