Loke: Mavcom to keep an eye on holiday travel airfare prices to prevent airfar abuse

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) is keeping a careful eye on airfare prices during the holiday season to prevent airline price manipulation. 

   According to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, the government has implemented sufficient controls to prevent airlines from making disproportionate claims from Putrajaya under the RM599 base fares initiative during the Christmas season.

  Loke said that airlines are unable to simply raise prices because the ministry is aware of every flight's specifics, including the number of seats sold and their price.

  He said that airlines cannot simply hike ticket prices and then demand reimbursement from the government, as they are subject to algorithms and pricing mechanisms.

  "The government is smart about spending money. Don't underestimate our intelligence and think that the airlines can easily manipulate the prices.

  "It will not happen because the pricing is being monitored by Mavcom, and we know exactly how many seats they are claiming," he reportedly said at the launch of AirAsia fixed fares to Sabah and Sarawak in conjunction with Chinese New Year celebrations on Friday (Jan 5).

  Loke said that thorough audits will be conducted to verify every claim made by airline companies.

  To be transparent, Loke said AirAsia has submitted its report to the ministry on the Christmas season initiative.

  The subsidised prices have benefited 5,000 passengers on AirAsia alone, the Seremban MP said.

  AirAsia filed its report on sales from December 22 to December 24 of last year under the RM599 subsidised price initiative. It was discovered that 5,000 passengers had benefited from the program, with claims totaling roughly RM2 million and roughly RM400 in subsidies for each passenger over the course of three days.

  For travel between February 7 and 8, this year, the same subsidy will be in effect for the upcoming Chinese New Year season.

  Loke said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) is financing this initiative with discounted fares through a variety of cost-saving measures.

  He said MOT will have more revenue from some other sources, which he will announce at a later date.

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