KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 27): Airlines have increased scheduled flights beginning next month and have kept airfares at affordable levels to facilitate the 15th General Election (GE15) on Nov 19, said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
The commission said on Thursday (Oct 27) that the extra flights included 45 from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and 30 from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang) to selected locations within Peninsular Malaysia.
In a statement, it also said that 68 extra flights have been planned for flights between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.
“Furthermore, Malaysia Airlines is planning to increase capacity to key destinations in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia by utilising the Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft,” Mavcom said.
“In addition, there are additional flights planned to selected destinations within East Malaysia under the Rural Air Services programme, as well as five planned additional flights between Subang and Seletar, Singapore.”
Mavcom is an independent body set up in March 2016 under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 to regulate economic and commercial matters relating to civil aviation.
The commission said it has also reviewed on Tuesday (Oct 25) that most domestic airfares within the GE15 travelling dates, from Nov 16 to 20, have decreased to a one-way average of RM185 for routes within Peninsular Malaysia, RM188 for routes within East Malaysia and RM296 for routes between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.
Despite that, Mavcom executive chairman Datuk Seri Saripuddin Kasim pushed airlines to do more as Mavcom analysis found that a small percentage of routes have airfares that are higher than average.
“Therefore, the commission urges airlines to induce more capacity on these routes during the GE15 travelling period as demand for these routes will most likely increase approaching the polling date,” he said.
However, he said he is cognisant that the planned capacity additions may vary closer to the election date depending on operational reasons and overall market demand.
“The commission is closely monitoring the developments to ensure that enough seats are available at affordable prices to meet the demand,” Saripuddin said.
Mavcom also reiterated that airfares are currently not regulated in line with the government’s decision in 2006 to rationalise the domestic air services sector.