No plans to fix air ticket prices, says Loke

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SEPANG: The government has no plans to fix air ticket prices as it would negatively affect passengers, says transport minister Loke Siew Fook.

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Speaking at a press conference here today, Loke expressed concern that airlines will reduce their capacities if price ceilings are introduced.

“The airlines will reduce their capacities as they would not want to operate if they are making losses, and that would mean fewer flights for everyone,” he said.

“That is why we are encouraging them to add more flights to make it more affordable.

“Of course, there will be a surge in prices during festive seasons, but (during) normal times, prices are still affordable.”

He was speaking to reporters at AirAsia’s headquarters in Sepang, where the low-cost carrier announced extra flights at fixed low fares between the peninsula and East Malaysia from Jan 17 to 30 to meet increased demand for the Chinese New Year holidays.

In addition to 52 extra flights to six destinations in Sabah and Sarawak, AirAsia will be operating 274 flights weekly at regular rates to the same destinations.

‘Direct complaints to Mavcom’

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Asked to comment on queries by Batik Air passengers on whether they would be refunded for the eight-hour delay of a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching last Friday, Loke said they should be directed to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

“We have a system in place, and they are the authority for this. Mavcom is the right channel and platform for them to lodge a complaint.

“The minister’s office is not a complaints bureau. I cannot handle every single complaint, so if there are any specific complaints, they can lodge them with Mavcom.

“Some delays are unavoidable, but the communication and handling of guests on delayed flights need to be managed better,” he said, adding that airlines should provide meals and accommodation to affected passengers in the future.

Batik Air, formerly known as Malindo Air, yesterday expressed regret over the delay and said it would offer the affected passengers special complimentary vouchers.

It also said food vouchers were provided during the delay but not accommodation due to hotels being fully booked and no food outlets being open past midnight at the terminal.-FMT


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