‘Play your part for Sarawak, keep fares reasonable’, Lee tells airlines


Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin

MIRI (March 17): The Sarawak Transport Ministry will be meeting with all airlines operating in the state to discuss on flight frequencies and airfares during school holidays and festive seasons.

Its minister, Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin said this is to ensure that there will be sufficient seats available with reasonable airfares.

“The ministry requests for the airlines to play their pivotal role to the rakyat and government by offering more flight frequencies into and within Sarawak, so as to ensure there are sufficient seats available and maintaining reasonable air fares,” he said in a statement today.

Lee also clarified that according to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), MASwings ticket price price is set at a certain ceiling due to Public Service Obligation (PSO), as the fare was being subsidised by the federal government.

This comes after a father complained of exorbitant airfare price for a one-way ticket from Miri to Kuching via Malaysia Airlines (MAS) for his daughter to enroll into a local university in Samarahan.

Separately, Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OUCCI) president Mutang Tagal today said MAS, MASwings and Firefly must do away with dynamic airfare pricing for flights within Sarawak and Sabah, especially the rural areas.

“Just because other airlines practice dynamic pricing in determining the pricing of their tickets especially during peak seasons like school holidays, festivals and important occasions, it does not mean that MAS, MASwings and Firefly should follow suit blindly without considering its impact on rural, domestic and international travels,” he said.

The Malaysian Aviation Group (MAV) previously in a statement said that like any other airlines, MAS practices dynamic pricing, subject to demand and supply and based on the date, time, and availability of seats within a specific timeframe.

“Fares will also be adjusted with passengers’ willingness to pay due to peak and seasonal trends and competitiveness against other airlines.

“With the additional frequency made available in a certain sector, fares will be dynamically adjusted downwards for customers to enjoy low fares,” it said.

Meanwhile, touching on an incident involving a MYAirline flight from Miri to Kuala Lumpur which had to return twice due to technical problem, Lee said he was informed by Miri Airport manager Jauhari Abdullah on March 14, that the flight landed safely at Miri Airport during both incidents.

Lee said he had also spoken to MYAirline chief executive officer (CEO) Rayner Teo for clarification on the matter.

“According to MYAirline CEO, the airline had served two meals – at 3.21pm for lunch and 8.30pm for dinner – to all the passengers.

“MYAirline had arranged rescue aircraft which arrived at 9.43pm and left for KLIA2 at 10.34pm with 77 passengers.

“Thirty passengers were transferred via Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur and three passengers were provided hotel stay in Miri and took the next day flight,” said Lee.