Matta welcomes holistic approach to curb high airfares

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has welcomed Transport Minister Anthony Loke's holistic approach of bringing domestic airfares under control not only during peak seasons but also throughout the year.

The association noted the ceiling fares for MASwings would also be reviewed and fixed mutually based on the recommendations given by both MASwings and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

In a statement today, Matta President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said high domestic airfares had stifled domestic tourism, especially for Sabah and Sarawak where tourists as well as residents had to travel by air.

"Both foreigners and locals have complained on high domestic airfares compared with international flights to overseas destinations. All these initiatives bode well for domestic flights and tourism," he said.

Tan was responding to Loke's announcement yesterday that Mavcom was finalising its study on a suitable mechanism to control domestic airfares.

The ceiling price for airline tickets would be determined by the end of the month following a thorough study, the minister disclosed, adding that the mechanism would also be improved by setting a rate without including other charges.

Loke also said the ceiling price would be reviewed frequently in line with current needs through agreement made among the Transport Ministry, Mavcom and MASwings.

In April this year, Matta called for domestic airfares during peak seasons be capped at no more than 1.5 to 2.0 times of normal fares.

Otherwise, Tan said, the price could balloon up to five times more and place a heavy burden on Malaysians returning home to join their loved ones. — Bernama