Govt mulls air fare subsidies during festive seasons for flights to Sabah, Sarawak from Peninsula

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is planning to subsidise flight tickets from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak during festive seasons.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the ministry is studying the mechanism to provide subsidies for flights to the states a few days prior to the celebrations.

"We asked airline companies to add late night flights (during the period).

"An airline company will be implementing this," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Senator Abun Sui Anyit in the Dewan Negara today.

The government had in May capped airfare from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak at RM300, excluding fees and taxes, for Kaamatan and Gawai.

Earlier, Loke said the government spent RM209 million in subsidies every year to cover the operational and aircraft leasing for the Rural Air Services (RAS) for Sabah and Sarawak.

Following MASWings Sdn Bhd's takeover by Hornbill Skyways Sdn Bhd, which is in negotiation process, Loke said the ministry was responsible in setting Public Service Obligation (PSO) and criteria needed to be met.

"At the same time, the Transport Ministry, through the Malaysian Aviation Commission, will continue to administer and and manage RAS' PSO.

"In this regard, the federal government, through the ministry will continue the subsidies for RAS to be enjoyed by residents in Sabah and Sarawak rural areas."

A total of RM209 million subsidies for rural air services was announced in the 2024 Budget, he said.

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