Air ticket prices to Sabah, Sarawak will return to normal

KUALA LUMPUR: Domestic flight ticket prices for routes to Sabah and Sarawak will return to standard prices when the total flight frequency operates as usual, said Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Henry Sum Agong.

Therefore, he said the government through the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) would continue to monitor flight ticket prices for all domestic routes, including routes between the Peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak.

He said the high flight ticket prices were a result of the implementation of the flight capacity limit by the Sarawak government which was part of the state government’s efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At that time, the flight frequency to Sarawak dropped by 94 per cent compared to the period before Covid-19 while for flights between the Peninsula and Sabah, the flight frequency dropped by 89 per cent compared to the period before Covid-19,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to a question from Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti) on the government’s move to reduce the price of flight tickets from Sarawak to the Peninsula and Sabah which were very expensive during the Covid-19 pandemic and what the remedial measures were for the matter.

Henry also said that air ticket prices are determined using a dynamic pricing mechanism and the concept of cross-subsidisation, that is, profitable flights will cover the operating costs of non-profitable routes.

He said Mavcom’s monitoring between Sept 26 to Oct 2 for travel after Oct 8 found that Kuala Lumpur to Kuching flights recorded lower ticket prices between 29 and 74 per cent cheaper compared to ticket prices in 2019.

He said other routes such as Kuala Lumpur to Miri and Kuala Lumpur to Sibu still record high prices of between RM530 to RM1600 for one way while for the Peninsular route to Sabah, ticket prices are higher from eight per cent to 163 per cent compared to ticket prices in 2019.

In a separate development, Henry said the final approval for the proposed construction of the Kulim International Airport Development Project (KXP) would only be considered when the National Airport Strategic Plan (NASP) Study was completed.

“In this regard, any planning of commercial projects related to the airport in conjunction with the opening of KXP will only be determined after the proposed construction of KXP is finalised by the government,” he said.

He was responding to a question from Karupaiya Mutusami (PH-Padang Serai) on the planning and commercial projects to be done in conjunction with the opening of Kulim International Airport. – Bernama