Extend Aidilfitri airfare reduction period, group urges

KOTA KINABALU: The maximum one-way fare for economy flights from the peninsula to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan for Hari Raya Aidilfitri should be extended to two weeks instead of just three days, says a Sabah consumer association.

Consumers Front of Sabah president Nordin Thani said the initiative should be for a longer period so that more residents from the three regions get to purchase flight tickets at reasonable prices and have the opportunity to return to their hometowns for the festival.

He said the three days set for the maximum price was insufficient, adding that not everyone could take an early holiday.

“The maximum price (should be implemented) a week before and a week after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“Anyone who cannot go on holiday (before Hari Raya) can return (to their hometown) later.

“We appeal to the government to consider this so that all have the opportunity to buy flight tickets at reasonable prices,” he said, Bernama reported.

On Feb 24, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the government has set a maximum fare of RM599 for one-way economy class flights from the peninsula to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, applicable for travel three days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

The initiative was part of the government’s efforts to assist people in travelling back to their hometowns for Aidilfitri in April.

Nordin said the maximum price initiative must give priority to residents of Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan to return to their hometowns, fearing that some would take advantage of the initiative to go on holiday to the region.He said airline operators also need to consider using large planes to accommodate more passengers for the festive season.

National Consumer Action Council Sabah branch chairman Kevin Lo Kian Min said the government’s move would ensure accessibility to air travel for people of Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan wanting to return to their hometowns, without being burdened by unreasonable flight ticket prices.

He advised Sabahans in the peninsula to plan their journey as well as possible, including buying tickets in advance to avoid unexpected price increases.

“Making preparations in advance is important for travellers to get tickets at a reasonable price,” he said.

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