Give airlines time to normalise, transport minister says amid uproar over high flight prices

Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said Malaysians should give airlines a chance to normalise their ticket prices. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said Malaysians should give airlines a chance to normalise their ticket prices. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — Malaysians should give airlines a chance to “normalise” their ticket prices, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said after a meeting with the country’s three carriers.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has seen many countries, including Malaysia, shut their borders, effectively pulling the brakes on international travel, have crippled the global aviation industry.

“I also urge the public to give more time for airline fares to normalise, as all airlines had been under tremendous financial pressure during the pandemic, experiencing as low as 97 per cent drop in passenger volume.

“Without passengers, their expenses continue to push them to the verge of bankruptcy,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page tonight.

Wee met three of Malaysia’s airlines — Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air — earlier today to discuss the revival of the aviation sector following the implementation of the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

Judging from the airlines’ feedback, Wee said flight bookings should be done early, as fares would not begin to drop drastically especially for short-notice bookings to fly within a day or two.

“For flight bookings made two or three weeks prior to departure, the ticket price may be half the price of those bought two days before departure,” he added.

Earlier in May, Malaysian carriers had warned that passengers will likely have to pay over 50 per cent more for airfares if social distancing is imposed in light of Covid-19.

Just yesterday, Malaysia Airlines Bhd clarified that the recent air ticket price increase involving its flight destinations is due to the current average load factor which is less than 40 per cent for most flights.

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