Early birds snap up over 3,000 flight tickets

More than 3,000 flight tickets were snapped up in just two days for travels to Sabah and Sarawak for the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations, said Anthony Loke.

The Transport Minister said the tickets were from the 11,400 low-priced ticket allocation set aside by AirAsia for flights between Kuala Lumpur and seven destinations in Sabah and Sarawak during the festive period.

“AirAsia has prepared 62 additional flights with a total of 11,400 seats at a low fixed price from Kuala Lumpur and Johor to seven destinations.

“The destinations are Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah; Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri in Sarawak, from April 19-21 and April 28-30,” he said when answering a question raised by Vivian Wong Shir Yee (PH-Sandakan) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said the flight prices were between RM249 from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and RM199 to Sarawak.

“Tickets for the popular routes, particularly between Kuala Lumpur and Sandakan, are almost sold out,” he added.

Wong suggested that there should be more special packages for students or an opening up of flights between Penang and Johor to Sabah and Sarawak.

“This will help reduce transit costs as a one-way ticket to Sandakan cost over RM1,400 last week,” she added.

Loke said that Malaysia Airlines’ MHexplorer product currently offers up to 30% discounts for students, which comes with other benefits such as a 10kg baggage allowance.

He said that he will be discussing with MyAirlines representatives soon if it is possible to open new routes between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak.

Earlier, Loke informed the House that the Malaysian Aviation Commission had imposed penalties of RM4.72mil between 2018 and January of this year on airlines that had breached the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code.

He added that airlines have to reimburse customers or offer alternative flights if their flights are delayed or cancelled due to technical issues or a lack of capacity.

The direction of the country’s cabotage policy will be decided by more studies by the Transport Ministry, which is currently working with stakeholders to find a win-win situation, especially for foreign investors, telecommunications companies and local shipping industry players.

Loke was responding to Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan), who asked about the status of cabotage exemptions for high-tech companies to repair undersea cables in order to restore investor confidence and attract investments.

Foreign vessels can enter Malaysian waters and need only apply for an electronic domestic shipping licence before they can start work on undersea cable repair or maintenance, a process that takes no more than three days before approval.

The cabotage policy for cable repair and maintenance work was put in place in January 1980, but the Pakatan Harapan government revoked it in April 2019. Under this exemption, all submarine cable maintenance vessels do not need to apply for a domestic shipping licence before starting work.

However, the cabotage policy was reintroduced by the Transport Ministry on Nov 16, 2020.

The re-imposition of the cabotage policy for submarine cable repair works has been a contentious issue.

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