By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
The government will allow market forces to dictate prices of flight tickets during peak seasons despite consumers’ worries that airlines may raise prices to take advantage of the high travelling periods.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture) said the latest mechanism of adding more flights has helped maintain ticket prices.
“So far, AirAsia (Group Bhd) has delivered in terms of increasing the number of flights, and I noticed, to certain destinations, especially from Kuala Lumpur to Sabah and Sarawak during Chinese New Year (CNY), the prices have come down,” he said in Sepang yesterday.
Local carriers agreed to raise their domestic capacity by 20% during peak seasons in an effort to bring down airfares after a meeting with the Ministry of Transport (MoT) in September.
The move came after criticisms that airlines jacked up ticket prices during peak seasons to capitalise on the high consumer demands.
The government’s decision to let market forces to decide the selling price alludes to the non-intervention policy towards the industry.
Airlines are already boosting seats for next year’s CNY, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Pesta Kaamatan and Hari Gawai celebrations.
“The airfare during CNY has come down a bit with an average of not more than RM1,000. I think the highest is (between) RM700 and RM800. There are additional fixed fare flights too.
“As far as AirAsia is concerned, they have done their part and I expect other airlines to commit and deliver their commitment,” Loke said.
He said as long as the adding capacity mechanism works, the government would not initiate the ceiling price mechanism.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi had said the price ceiling is not the way to control extreme fluctuation in airfares as it would open the window for airlines to set ceiling prices for all seats.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has increased the frequency of the popular free buggy service at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.
MAHB acting group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said currently, there are 15 buggies operating at eight buggy service stations.
The airport will also provide 100 wheelchairs and 50 baby strollers at 10 locations at the airport starting today.
“By January 2019, there will be 150 wheelchairs, 150 baby strollers and 10 extra stations. The company will be spending about RM5 million over the next three years to make the service available,” he said.