December 30, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – More airlines should offer fixed fares during festive seasons to give Malaysians peace of mind about travel costs, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
They should emulate AirAsia’s fixed fares between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak during the upcoming Chinese New Year, he said at the launch of the “Hop On Home with Fixed Fares” programme at AirAsia’s headquarters here yesterday.
During the promotion, Sabahans and Sarawakians returning home will enjoy fixed fares for travel from Jan 17-30 next year.
“While it (AirAsia) is unable to increase flight frequencies due to the shortage of aircraft – which is affecting all airlines – we applaud its hard work in adding special extra flights at fixed low fares to reconnect families, especially those travelling to and from Sabah and Sarawak.
“I encourage other airlines to emulate this, especially during festive seasons,” said Loke.
Passengers can book flights on late-night flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, as well as from Johor Baru to Kuching, Sibu and Miri at RM199 one-way; and from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu and Tawau, as well as Johor Baru to Kota Kinabalu, at RM249 one-way.
Bookings opened at noon yesterday through the various AirAsia apps.
AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd group chief executive officer Bo Lingam said the airline decided to fix its fares despite rising operating costs and a leaner fleet size.
“Even with travel rebounding fast this year, we are unable to put out as many extra flights as we would like simply because of the ripple effect of the pandemic.
“However, we are doing all we can and remain committed to reuniting Malaysians for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration,” he said at the launch.
The event was also attended by Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman, Capital A Bhd CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and its president Colin Currie.
Capital A, previously AirAsia Group Bhd, is the airline’s holding company.
Loke also said passengers who were not satisfied with refunds of delayed or cancelled flights should lodge complaints with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and not his office.
“For delays, I’m not sure whether a refund is part of the (terms and) conditions,” he said.
“We have a system in place. We have an authority in charge of this, so Mavcom is the right channel and platform for them to lodge complaints. The minister’s office is not a complaints bureau – I cannot handle every single complaint.”.
Loke said the recent eight-hour delay of a Batik Air flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching was due to the pilots having exceeded their flying hours, adding that the problem could have been handled better with proper communications.
He said he was given the full report on the incident by Batik Air (formerly Malindo Air) after he asked the airline to apologise to passengers for the inordinate delay.“The aircraft was forced to divert to Langkawi and once they arrived, the pilots passed their flying hours.
“So, a new crew had to be flown to Langkawi, hence the delay of a few hours,” he noted.
Loke added that he was not making excuses for the airline, but was merely explaining the regulatory framework governing airlines.