pic by TMR FILE
THE government has no plans to construct new low-cost carrier terminals (LCCTs) in different states despite rising demands for budget flights in Malaysia, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture).
Loke said it was more practical for airport operators to understand the operational and service requirements of low-cost airlines than to build separate terminals solely for this purpose.
Currently, the ratio between budget carriers and full-service carriers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is at 48% and 52% respectively.
This, Loke said, surpassed the low-cost airline composition at international aviation hubs like Changi Airport, which has a 27% input from budget airlines, Dubai International Airport at 18% and Heathrow Airport at 34%.
“I have visited several airports abroad, including the UK, where the operations combine both full-service carriers and low-cost carriers.
“What they did was for the airport operators to understand the requirements of the low-cost carriers such as the aerobridges or easier check-in facilities. But whether there is a specific need for LCCTs at state level can be debated,” Loke told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was replying to a question from Wong Hon Wai (Pakatan Harapan-Bukit Bendera) who asked about the government’s move to encourage flights by local or international low-cost airlines to enable Malaysians to enjoy more economical airfares.
Loke said the government has taken various steps to spur the growth of the budget airline industry since AirAsia Bhd began operations in 2001.
This included the start of LCCT at KLIA prior to the establishment of KLIA2 which has allowed low-cost carriers to operate more efficiently.
Additionally, incentives like the “Airline Incentive Programme” and the “Joint International Tourism Development Programme” have been offered under Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to give cheaper options to frequent flyers, while also promoting the services of local and international budget airlines.
“Low-cost carriers from other countries have begun operations in Malaysia because of these benefits. They include InterGlobe Aviation Ltd from India, Scoot Tigerair Pte Ltd from Singapore, Batik Air from Indonesia and Vietjet Air from Vietnam,” Loke said.
Meanwhile, responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Barisan Nasional-Machang) on whether the government will set ceiling or floor prices to control airfares, Loke said Putrajaya will hold on to its previous stand to not introduce ceiling prices for airline tickets.
“Yes, there are spikes during festive seasons, but we have taken efforts to address this. We have asked airlines to add flights and some have fixed prices like midnight flights. But for now, there are no plans for neither a ceiling nor floor price,” he said.