Senior minister: Transport Ministry will look into issue of airfare increase due to social distancing implementation

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya April 3, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya April 3, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Transport Ministry will look into the issue of fare increases, especially for flights, as social distancing guidelines have halved their capacities.

He said the government received complaints from public transport operators, especially the airline companies, that have reduced their capacities to adhere to the social distancing standard operating procedures (SOP).

“As of today, we understand that fares are now more expensive.

“We were told by the Transport Minister (Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong) during today’s earlier cabinet meeting that an economy flight to London in England now costs RM8,000.

“It’s usually less than that at around RM3,000 to RM4,000. Now it’s double that,” said Ismail Sabri during the daily press conference today.

He was responding to a question on public complaints that public transportation fares have increased with double their previous prices.

However, Ismail Sabri assured the public that the Transport Ministry will look into this issue so as to not incur losses to transportation operators.

He said the Transport Ministry will forward their proposal to the committee soon.

Yesterday, it was reported that Malaysian Airlines Bhd and Malindo Air concurred with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that the proposal to require social distancing among passengers would spike airfares by up to 54 per cent.

IATA said imposing social distancing would fundamentally shift the economics of aviation by slashing the maximum load factor to 62 per cent. This would be well below the average industry breakeven load factor of 77 per cent. IATA said with fewer seats to sell, unit costs would rise sharply.

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