PUTRAJAYA, Nov 27 — Airline companies in the country need to immediately lower their airfares without having to involve excessive government intervention.

The call was made by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong through a post on his Facebook page today.

He described the current air fares, especially to Sarawak, very burdensome for consumers.

He said the government acknowledged the concerns and feedback raised by the public over exorbitant airfares ahead of the upcoming holiday season this year end and early 2022.

“This is a matter of serious concern to the Government and many discussions have been held to resolve this issue which affects many people, from the travellers themselves to the family members they long to reunite with after much time apart due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

Recently, several Sarawak non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have expressed regret over the high fares and reduced in flight frequency to The Land of the Hornbills.

According to Wee, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has held meetings with Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo on the need to reduce air fares to allow more people to enjoy lower air fares during this year end period.

“Malaysia Airlines has pledged to add additional flights to Sarawak in December, which should result in reduction in fares to the state.

“The Malaysia Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) are also prepared to approve more flight frequencies,” he added.

However, Wee, reminded industry players to refrain from hiking air fares to address wide public perception that this is being done by airlines to recoup losses due to the pandemic.

He said MOT had also written to the Sarawak Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin to request that the State Government return the decisions of regulating air passenger service frequencies to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

“MOT fully understands and aligns with Sarawak’s need to contain Covid-19, state governments and their related agencies must do their part to let market supply and demand prevail and fully allow airlines to increase their air passenger service frequencies based on market-driven operational consideration,” he added. — Bernama