Tuesday, June 25

Extra MAS flights for coming CNY exodus welcomed


Robert Tan

SIBU: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will be mounting 14 extra flights for the KL/Sibu route and vice-versa, starting next week to ease the heavy bookings for Lunar New Year season.

According to the managing director of Equitorial Tours and Travel Sdn Bhd Robert Tan, this was a piece of good news for people returning to Sibu for the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration.

“The load is very heavy in the run up to the Chinese community’s most important celebration. And MAS mounting additional flights will certainly do wonders to ease the heavy bookings and ensure that people reach home in time to spend the celebration with their families,” Tan told The Borneo Post when asked on air ticket bookings for the coming CNY.

However, he lamented that with the increased load triggered by the surging demand, the airfares are coming with a higher price tag.

“Starting next week, the fare for KL/Sibu (one-way) will cost about RM500 and the load is extremely high between Jan 19 and 21.  The fare is priced as high as RM700 one-way during the peak period,” said Tan, who has 39 years of experience as a travel agent.

He pointed out that even the airfare for the low cost carrier costs about RM400 one-way.

He figured that the void left by FireFly (FF), which stopped flying the route on Dec 4 last year, was gradually being monopolised by AirAsia.

The drawback, said Tan, is that MAS has only one flight to KL, which is in the morning for now.

He recalled that initially when MAS resumed its service in December last year, they mounted two flights daily.

“But they have since reduced to a flight daily, and this may cause hassle to international bound travellers, who are on connecting flights,” he moaned.

He figured these group of passengers may need to spend overnight in KL or alternatively switch to AirAsia.

Asked on the bookings made earlier with FF, Tan said these passengers need to contact the airline office and asked for reroute to MAS.

Citing his own daughter who booked with FF earlier, he revealed that she had been rerouted to KL/Kuching/Sibu flight via MAS.

In December last year, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said MAS was gradually taking over the schedule of FF.

According to Abdul Rahim, some of the routes were handled by FF but due to certain decisions recently it was not continuing jet operations and had concentrated on its original core business that is propeller-aircraft operations within peninsula and neighbouring Indonesia pending outcome of discussion and mapping out of strategies.