Airlines urged to lower airfares, up frequencies

The ministry is looking for ways to solve the issue of expensive airfares during festive seasons. File photo for illustration purposes only

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, June 22: Airlines have been urged to reduce their airfares and increase their flight frequencies for domestic routes.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong in a press statement today said airlines are required to reduce their airfares following the relaxation of the social distancing rules.

“Following a meeting held by the Ministry of Transport with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air on June 11 to discuss the airline industry’s economic recovery, the airlines must now begin to reduce their airfares and increase flight in line with the relaxation of social distancing rules for scheduled and non-scheduled passengers flights.

“Social distancing is no longer mandatory for scheduled passengers who have already passed security checks and are queuing at boarding gates.

“The Special Ministerial Meeting on the Movement Control Order (MCO) held on June 18 had decided to discontinue the requirement for social distancing at departure halls or boarding gates in airport terminals as part of the Recovery phase of the MCO (RMCO),” he said.

Wee said the federal government is seriously looking into the impact of the MCO which has affected domestic and international air passenger travel.

He asserted the MCO which was put into effect to safeguard public health from Covid-19 has put pressure and inconvenience on a number of industries.

He gathered that airline operators have informed the federal government that airfares are determined through a dynamic pricing mechanism based on supply and demand factors that are market driven.

Wee observed that those factors among others include passenger demand, the economic situation, costs of fuel and operations.

He noted that airlines need to ensure bookings are stable and consistent before prices can be normalised to pre Covid-19 levels.

Going forward, Wee said the federal government has reminded airlines to set reasonable price levels that would not burden air travellers for work during this time of the recovery from Covid-19.

In the meantime, he stressed that the public must comply with all the guidelines related to health screening, body temperature checks and use of face masks and hand sanitisers within airport terminals. —DayakDaily