Last week, East Malaysians has been calling out to the government for the expensive flight tickets during the holiday season, and especially so after the Sarawak state election was being announced.
Flight tickets had even soared up to RM3,000 for a one-way ticket when the election is near.
However, the issue has now been resolved and apparently, the steep flight ticket prices to Sarawak are caused by the limited number of flights allowed into the state, according to AirAsia Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat.
In a statement, he said the airline has now managed to reduce the prices from RM1,000 to RM200 for one-way trips from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching after they received confirmation from the Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS) and the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) for more flights.
Riad said the state has allowed for an additional 42 weekly flights from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah into the State for a limited period of 4 December 2021 up until 5 January 2022.
“As a low-cost carrier, we are a volume business in order to pass on the lowest fares to our guests. AirAsia’s operation is all about economies of scale where we need to achieve a high passenger volume so that costs can be spread among a sizable number of passengers, allowing us to offer travellers low fares and giving them great value for money.” he said.
Raid explained that historically, their average fare for flights between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia has been around RM160 per one-way passenger.
He also pointed out that AirAsia’s pricing model is similar to other airlines the world over and is based on supply and demand.
“In abiding with the limited flight frequencies imposed by the SDMC resulting in a reduced supply of flight seats, AirAsia’s demand-based dynamic pricing mechanism has inevitably derived prices seen as unfavourable to buyers at this time. It must be remembered that this is also the same mechanism that we used to offer guests promotional fares from as low as RM99 one way earlier in October.” the statement said.
Raid also revealed before the Covid-19 pandemic started, AirAsia used to fly over 300 weekly flights into Sarawak pre-Covid, and for Kuala Lumpur – Kuching alone, they used to fly between 12 and 15 flights daily.
With the latest approval, he said AirAsia will be flying 5 daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kuching – a 67% reduction in their capacity due to restrictions set by Sarawak’s Disaster Management Committee.
“Many guests had been able to grab our low fares when we ran a special promotion at the end of October with flights from Kuala Lumpur to Sarawak selling from as low as RM99 one way. We comprehend that demand is there but at the moment we are unable to meet it until more flight approvals are given.” the statement said.
In addition, AirAsia has requested for the additional flight approval to be extended to the Chinese New Year holidays too, to enable the passengers to enjoy lower fares.
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