pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
FLIGHT tickets to Sarawak and Sabah are expected to return to their average price level when the flight frequency is back to its normal capacity pre-pandemic according to the Transport Ministry.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Henry Sum Agong told Dewan Rakyat, according to Malaysia Aviation Commissioner (Mavcom) surveillance for the period of Sept 26, 2021, to Oct 2, 2021, ticket prices in Sarawak and Sabah had recorded high prices although routes to Kuching after Oct 8 this year had shown a decrease in prices according to the state development.
“Travel after Oct 8 for Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Kuching flight ticket has shown 29% to 74% lower prices than 2019, although other routes still show a higher price for one way trip such as KL-Miri and KL-Sibu ranging between RM530 and RM1,600. As for Sabah, the ticket price is 8% to 164% higher in comparison to the ticket price in 2019.
“Sarawak state government effective Oct 8 has agreed to increase flight frequency for any routes from 22 to 87 flights a week, at the same time allowing the aviation company to operate its services without passengers limit,” he said.
The spike in price is due to the Sarawak and Sabah state governments — through its Disaster Management Committee — restricting flight capacity to curb Covid-19 infections in the states making the frequency of travel falls 94% and Sabah 89% in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers.
Henry also said, the domestic flight fares are set based on aviation sector rationalisation 2006, which gives them the liberty to set their network coverage, flight frequencies and flight rate based on the market demands.
“The ticket price is determined using a dynamic pricing mechanism that takes into account market-driven supply and demand and other factors such as the economy, fuel price and operation cost.
“The aviation company also practices cross-subsidisation where the company will cover the losses from its unprofitable routes with its more profitable routes, with this concept the aviation industry may offer more affordable deals to its passengers,” he explained.
The government — through Mavcom — will continue to keep an eye on ticket prices for all domestic flight paths including between the peninsula and Sabah-Sarawak.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced on Sunday that interstate travel will be allowed for individuals that have completed their Covid-19 vaccination.
He also encouraged those who are planning to travel back to their hometown to take the Covid-19 test as a precaution to ensure safety.