An image of an AirAsia plane is projected as a Muslim man performs Friday prayers, which included a special prayer for the passengers of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, at Masjid Al-Akbar in Surabaya January 2, 2015. International experts equipped with sophisticated acoustic detection devices joined search teams scouring the sea off Borneo on Friday in the hunt for the black box flight recorders from the crashed Indonesia AirAsia passenger jet. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

As if its problems aren’t huge enough when Flight QZ8501 crashed in December, the airline carrier is again under the spotlight after it cancelled its Melbourne to Bali flights on Dec 26 in just a short day’s notice, all because it doesn’t have the pertinent approvals to fly on that route.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC, has been urged to look into the conduct of AirAsia because it had sold tickets and promised to fly on a route it does not have permission to fly with. Consumer magazine Choice called for the investigation.

The Melbourne to Denpasar route was scheduled to have its inaugural flight on Dec 26. The company had sold fares as early as October, for as $99 each way. On supposed inaugural date, the company cancelled. But it was a cancellation that frustrated travellers because it was advised in just less than 24 hours.

To pacify customers, the air carrier offered to fly them via Malaysia that would correspond to a 13-hour journey. The Melbourne to Bali route was advertised by the airline as only a six-hour direct flight.

Tom Godfrey, CHOICE head of media, said AirAsia should compensate the frustrated passengers for the nuisance it had done. “The fact is consumers purchased direct flights to Bali but they ended up being flown around the houses coming in via Malaysia. AirAsia sold one thing and delivered something different - and in the process it misled consumers,” the Daily Mail quoted Godfrey. Choice said it doesn’t have the numbers to know just how many consumers were affected. But it believed the attractive low price likely could have elicited a large number.

Rod Sims, ACCC chairman, confirmed he has received Choice’s complaint letter and vowed to look into the matter immediately. “We will consider this matter, not just in terms of the Choice letter but also any complaints we may have received directly,” The Australian quoted Sims.

Under Australian aviation laws, airlines are allowed to sell tickets even still in the absence of all pertinent regulatory approvals. But they are required to advise their travellers regarding such developments, according to the WSJ.

The approval to fly the Melbourne to Bali route got stalled after Australian aviation regulators ordered for a re-evaluation of the airline’s safety operations following the crash of Flight QZ8501 that had killed all 162 people on board.