Transport Minister Calls For Airlines To Reduce Airfares Immediately

In the wake of unhappy comments from the public that airline fares overpriced, Transport Minister has called for all airlines in the country should immediately lower their fares, without having to involve excessive government intervention.

Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong made the call after grouses from the public had been increasing of late after the ease of border restriction took place. He called out the flights to Sarawak has become very expensive and should not be the case as it will be burdensome to consumers. 

“In particular, many have expressed anger over the very high air fares to Sarawak, especially ahead of the end of the year and early 2022 holidays. This situation affects people, from travelers to family members who they long to meet again after a long separation due to the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

This matter has also been raised by several Sarawak non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who have expressed regret over the fares and frequency of flights to the land.

According to Wee, MOT held meetings with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo, to discuss the need to reduce air fares to enable passengers to enjoy lower rates by the end of this year.

“Immediately after this meeting, Malaysia Airlines promised to increase flights to Sarawak and reduce fares to Sarawak in December, thus being able to reduce fares to the state.

"Mavcom (Malaysian Aviation Commission) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) are also ready to approve more flight frequencies," he said.

However, Wee warned industry players not to take advantage by raising fares to cover losses suffered previously.

At the Sarawak state level, he said the MOT had held discussions with all stakeholders and several state governments, including Sarawak, to find a solution to the issue, taking into account the ongoing efforts in curbing the spread of Covid-19 nationwide.

Wee also informed that he had contacted his counterpart in Sarawak Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin, to ask the state government to return the operation to regulate the frequency of air passenger services to Mavcom.

While the Ministry understands Sarawak's need to curb Covid-19, the state government and relevant agencies are advised to play their respective roles to ensure services and demand move in balance as well as allow airlines to increase the frequency of their services based on market-driven operations. 

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