Loke: No more increase in airfare during festive seasons

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Antony Loke, Transport Minister
Transport Minister, Antony Loke

KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 4 – Local airlines have agreed to keep the price of air tickets down during festive seasons from next year. This was revealed by Transport Minister Anthony Loke today.

At a press conference following a meeting with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) today, Loke said that the airlines will just add more flights during the festive period to ensure there is no price hike due to the increase in demand.

The Malaysian Insight reported the minister as having met representatives of Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo to discuss the issue.

“We noted that air ticket prices go up during the festive seasons, namely Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Hari Gawai and Hari Kaamatan celebrations.

“So the three airlines will increase the number of flights seven days before each festival, and by 20% on all existing domestic routes,” Loke was quoted as saying.

Flights up to midnight

He added that the airlines have also agreed to have flights all the way to midnight to accommodate for the increase in demand.

“We are working with the Air Traffic Control Centre and airports because some do not operate late at night,” he told reporters.

Several MPs, especially those from Sabah and Sarawak, had recently brought up the issue of airlines raising their airfares during festive periods.

To counter such actions, Loke had previously proposed a ceiling fare for the airlines on domestic routes.

However, following the results of a study he had commissioned Mavcom to conduct, the government has now decided not to introduce ceiling price for airfares as “it will bring detrimental effect to consumers in the long run”.

“Average one-way domestic airfares in Malaysia have been declining over the past few years and we do not want to reverse the impact if we start to introduce ceiling prices for airfares.

“The ceiling price introduction will not only bring down airfares during peak season, but could potentially increase airfares during non-peak season, and we do not want that to happen,” he told a media briefing here today.

The Mavcom study showed that the average airfare for one-way domestic flights had declined to RM214 in May 2018 from RM251 in January 2011.

According to the report, which covered 46 domestic routes, 39 routes had airfares during peak seasons with price multipliers of between 0.8x and 3.0x.

-NMT