Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Increase in airfares will be investigated, transport ministry assures

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong says the increase is due to a number of factors including greater operating costs.

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The transport ministry has asked the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and airline companies to immediately investigate the increase in airfares during the festive season.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said he conveyed the matter during a special meeting chaired by him yesterday, which also involved Mavcom, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and domestic airlines.

He said the meeting was to find solutions following public complaints about an increase in flight fares between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, as well as Sarawak, in conjunction with the Aidilfitri celebration.

Wee said CAAM had approved an extension of operating hours for air traffic control services at the required airports and assistance for airlines in planning for additional capacity, especially with the approaching festive season.

“The transport ministry is committed and will make every effort to reduce airfares to ease the people’s burden. The ministry, through Mavcom, will inform the public about the outcome of discussions with the airline companies soon,” he said in a statement today.

Wee said checks by Mavcom found that airfares on April 30 – the peak travel date for the Hari Raya season – had increased compared to the average airfares in 2019.

“This increase is due to increased operating costs, especially the increase in jet fuel prices, as well as limited resources for airlines to increase full capacity.

“The dynamic pricing mechanism also uses artificial intelligence in the process of determining the fare price,” he said.

He said airline companies were also facing problems in immediately increasing flight capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that aircraft also need to go through a process of maintenance, repair and overhaul before they can be approved for safe service.

Wee said for April 2022, the frequency of flights to Sabah and Sarawak was still low, at only 68% compared to 2019.

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