KUCHING, Nov 21: Lanang MP Alice Lau Kiong Yieng is delighted that AirAsia Berhad will mount additional flights during festive seasons, including during Chinese New Year next year, in order to resolve the problem of high ticket prices, especially for flights to Sabah and Sarawak.
In responding to her question in Parliament recently, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook had announced this collaborative effort between his ministry and AirAsia.
“With this collaboration, they have now added an additional flight every midnight seven days before Chinese New Year (CNY) and seven (7) days after CNY.
“They have also fixed the prices for all those flights to make sure it is reasonable and will not be a heavy burden to the people, especially those who intend to travel back home to be with their families during the festive season,” she said in a press statement today.
There would be an extra late night flight with fixed fares starting from RM99 from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Penang, RM149 from KL to Kuching/Sibu/Miri, and RM199 from KL to Kota Kinabalu (KK) for 14 days. These fares, however, are only available for this extra midnight flight.
“In addition, according to the Transport Minister, AirAsia also plans to introduce these extra late-night fixed-fare flights for other festive seasons, such as Hari Raya and Hari Gawai,” she added.
Lau revealed she had raised this issue multiple times in Parliament ever since she was elected as an MP in 2013.
“This issue has been burdening the people for many years. There were even reports of how domestic flight ticket prices could increase as high as five-fold during festive seasons,” she pointed out.
She admitted that while issues surrounding routes from say, Johor and Penang, to Sarawak and Sabah remained, what Loke announced was a “good first step”. In addition, Loke had also assured that he would look into this matter as well.
“I will also keep monitoring and follow up on the matter to make sure that the ticket prices are reasonable during each festive season,” she assured.
On a related matter, Lau said implementing a ceiling price for domestic flights, especially during festive seasons, might have an adverse effect on the people. Studies have shown that such a practice might cause the average price of tickets to increase during off seasons.
“Thus, the best way to address the issue is to encourage competition and to increase flight frequency, especially during peak seasons, to keep the price competitive and reasonable,” she reckoned.
She hoped more airlines would emulate the gesture of AirAsia by mounting more flights, especially during festive seasons, and keep ticket prices at a competitive range for the benefit of the people. — DayakDaily