Malaysiakini Letter

What has Mavcom done to ensure airfare affordability?

Chan Foong Hin  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) should explain their efforts to ensure that airfare remains affordable, especially for the flights between Borneo states and the peninsular.

The commission should make clear to the public the ceiling price for air tickets, so as to not to burden consumers.

The recent spat between Umno MP Bung Mokhtar and AirAsia has highlighted the prices issue for airfares.

Instead of starting Twitter wars with a certain airline chairperson, or creating political mileage out of the populist move, politicians should address the issue in a more comprehensive way.

By right, Mavcom is the governmental body charged with monitoring air fares, especially during the peak periods of school holidays and festive seasons.

Following the pass of the Mavcom (Amendment) Bill 2017 last month, the commission can impose charges on passengers at airports for regulatory services.

The bill proposes a maximum regulatory charge of RM1 on passengers at each airport to ensure the economic and safety aspects of passengers are met by airlines. It also enables the commission to issue guidelines, circulars, directives, practice notes or notices to facilitate the implementation of good practices in a shorter timeframe.

But Mavcom should say what they think about the airfare affordability issue.

I would like to know what is the price ceiling, for instance, from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur, and from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu.

My personal view is, the average one way ticket from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur should not be more than RM300, and not more than RM150 from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu to remain affordable.

In addition, I would like to propose for the introduction of a student pass, which offers discounts to enable students to fly, since a lot of students from Sabah and Sarawak are studying in the peninsula.

For those who come from poor families, they always find it too expensive to return home, especially once a year during the festive season or school holidays, exactly when airfares increase.

I understand the phenomena is driven by market forces, higher demand demands higher prices, while lower demand bring down the price to attract passengers.

However, I believe that the government and Mavcom should do something to reduce the people’s burden.

Mavcom is entrusted and empowered to take appropriate action to ensure that airfares remain reasonable, and they should investigate to all complaints.

They should ensure that fare hikes are no longer an issue in this country.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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