Matta: Departure levy unlikely to bear impact on travel

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE departure levy that is imposed on passengers flying from Malaysia to other countries beginning Sept 1 is unlikely to have an impact on travel and holiday demands.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) CEO Phua Tai Neng (picture) said the association believes the new charges would not deter consumers’ interest in travelling and buying flight tickets.

“We do not think that it will have an impact on outbound travel. People need a break and they would still buy flight tickets with the additional charge,” he told a press conference yesterday to announce Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAB) promotional offers for the upcoming Matta Fair in Kuala Lumpur.

Phua said although it is too early to determine the effect of the departure tax, he reiterated Matta’s view that the charges might be better off being deferred until after the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

MAB group chief marketing and customer experience officer Lau Yin May concurred, saying the airline anticipates minimal impact on travel demands due to the collection of departure levy.

Nevertheless, Lau said Asean destinations are poised to be favoured among consumers following the introduction of the levy.

Effective Sept 1, passengers flying in economy class will be charged RM8 to Asean destinations and RM20 for flights beyond Asean.

Passengers flying on classes other than economy will be charged RM50 to Asean destinations and RM150 for those flying to destinations beyond Asean.

“We are in full compliance with regulations imposed by the government. Nowadays, people need a break. The RM8 for Asean destinations will not make a substantial impact on consumers. However, we may see a shift towards Asean travelling,” Lau said.

Meanwhile, Lau said MAB is fitting its A330 fleet with in-flight WiFi equipment beginning this month.

She said the installation of onboard WiFi on all of the carrier’s 15 A330 aircraft would be completed by middle of next year. Currently, its six A350 planes have already been fitted with WiFi.

The three-day Matta Fair, to be held from Sept 6, is expected to garner about the same number of visitors and sales turnover from the previous edition.

The country’s largest consumer travel fair registered 113,685 visitors and RM220 million of sales turnover during its March 2019 edition.

MAB, the official airline for the upcoming Matta Fair, offers discounts up to 45% for business and economy class seats to all destinations within its network.

Fares start from RM79 one-way for domestic travel and from RM139 one-way for international destinations.

MAB’s sister company Firefly Sdn Bhd is offering airfare discounts up to 60% during the travel fair.