Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) have been instructed by the Transport Ministry to conduct a study on special ceiling price or discounts for flight tickets during festive seasons. File pic by ROSELA ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: The Transport Ministry has instructed the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) to conduct a study on special ceiling price or discounts for flight tickets during festive seasons.

However, its minister Anthony Loke said this review of prices cannot be done immediately due to the implications it may have for industry players.

Speaking to reporters after his maiden visit to MAVCOM, Loke said the commission needed to scrutinize unreasonable flight ticket prices during festive seasons especially for those in Sabah And Sarawak as it is among the issues frequently raised in Parliament.

“People of Sabah and Sarawak always face this issue every festive season, whether Gawai Day, Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas celebrations, they have to pay high ticket prices.

“Ticket prices for flights between Peninsular to Sabah or Sarawak can reach RM1,500 to RM2,000 for economy class, which is more expensive than flights from Kuala Lumpur to China, Hong Kong or South Korea.

“Implementation of ceiling prices will not disrupt the market as it is only during festive seasons. Besides, there are no other mode of transportation easily available as an alternative to Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (2nd from left), addresses the media Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) Menara 1 Sentrum. Pic by SAIRIEN NAFIS

He added that although the demand for the ceiling prices to be implemented immediately ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri has been made, it could not be implemented fearing its implication to the companies and the aviation industry.

Loke said that while he knew many were hoping for an announcement ahead of the upcoming festivities, he apologised for not being able to do so.

Meanwhile, Loke also called on Mavcom to review the Passenger Service Charge for airlines passengers.

He informed that Mavcom was scheduled to announce new rates on January 1, 2020, but he has directed the review to be implemented as soon as possible and hoped the new rates would be announced as early as next year.

“Currently it is standardised at all airports according to categories," he said, stating that the charges for domestic was RM11, Asean countries RM35 and countries beyond Asean RM73.

He remarked that the charges should follow the services which were made available at each of the airports.

For instance the facilities at the Penang International Airport and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) were not the same but the chargers imposed were the same.

“This we must look into because they cannot charge the same amount when the standard and facilities provided have vast differences."

On the RM1 regulatory service charge (RSC) collected by the commission, Loke said an estimated RM35mil was collected from passengers and used for their operational costs.

“Mavcom has about 57 staff and cost of operation is RM25mil," he said, adding that the remainder would be channeled to a fund monitored by Parliament.

“The money from the fund can be used for training and development of the aviation industry and Mavcom,” he said.

The RSC is collected from all passengers excluding those from rural areas in Sabah and Sarawak, children below two years old and those who are in transit.

Loke said Mavcom would also have to prepare a yearly report on their finances and present it to the Parliament, as part of operational transparency of the independent body.

Also present during Loke's visit today was Mavcom Executive Chairman, Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad.