SEPANG, Dec 28 — The federal government has no plans to fix prices for air tickets, since it is confident the aviation industry will pick up in 2023 following the reopening of China’s borders.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke today said capping flight tickets will adversely affect the airlines as air ticket prices are dynamic in nature.

“If you put a price ceiling there will be negative implications to the passengers. For example [airline operators] may cut down on capacity.

“No [airline] operator will want to operate if it’s a losing effort,” he told reporters at the AirAsia headquarters here after the budget airline announced fixed flight fares for the Chinese New Year festive season.

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Loke said prices have traditionally increased during the festive season.

While he encouraged airlines to increase their flight frequency, he conceded that not all operators have a large fleet that can accommodate the increase in demand.

He feels upbeat that the aviation industry will return to pre-Covid performance and added that government is ready to help any airlines that can reduce or fix their ticket prices.

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“Whoever chooses to fix prices for flight tickets, we in the government will help them. However, at this point of time there are no plans,” he said.

Loke also expressed optimism that the aviation industry will see a surge following China's borders opening.

“When China reopens, we will see many people include China as a destination, and as a result we will then see an increase in air traffic.

“These destinations will add to the increase in flights and subsequently a return to pre-Covid levels,” he said.

Beijing has announced that China will reopen for travel from January 8, 2023 but at the moment there is no information on which of its states will be open for international tourism.

Loke was asked about the grouses expressed by customers of Batik Air who were left stranded at the airport following prolonged delays in flight departures from Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Friday.

Stranded passengers complained that the airline formerly known as Malindo Air had offered to provide them with accommodation or even food and drink during the delay.

They also complained of not receiving refunds from the airlines.

Loke said he was not sure about the refund policy for delayed flights.

He said dissatisfied passengers could check with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), stressing that it was the proper authority on such matters and not his ministry.

“I cannot handle every single complaint so if there are any complaints, they can lodge with Mavcom,” he said.

Yesterday Loke told Batik Air to apologise for the delays.