We all love to balik kampung
during festive seasons. For some people, it is the only time they get to reunite with their families after working hard all-year long.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for some to actually return home for the holidays because the prices of flight tickets are often sky high (pun intended) during this time, especially for those with hometowns in East Malaysia.
But now, we have some good news.
The government has decided against setting ceiling prices for airfares during festive periods
to prevent further price hikes on regular days.
"The ceiling price introduction will not only bring down airfares during peak season, but could potentially increase airfares during non-peak season — and we do not want that to happen," Transport Minister Anthony Loke said, as reported by New Straits Times
This decision came following a study conducted by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) that showed a decline in average one-way domestic airfares in Malaysia in recent years.
Loke said introducing ceiling prices could reverse that for consumers and the government would not want to risk seeing that happening.
In fact, most countries don't implement ceiling prices for airfares. The ones that do, like Indonesia, failed to reduce prices of its domestic routes either way.
According to a report by Free Malaysia Today
, the study also saw at least 10 routes that experience three times or more of price increase during festive seasons.
Hence, after a meeting between MAVCOM and Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air, all parties came to an agreement to offer 20 per cent more flights during three major festive periods
next year -- Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and Pesta Kaamatan and Hari Gawai.
Increasing the flight capacity during those peak seasons would hopefully reduce flight tickets, which will be executed seven days before the festive day
This will begin with the three festive periods mentioned because those are the ones that are most demanding and it will be put on a one-year trial before making the necessary adjustments.
According to Loke, seven routes have been identified for the trial stage for Chinese New Year -- Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Sibu, KL-Kuching, KL-Kota Kinabalu (KK), Ipoh-Johor Bahru (JB), JB-Sibu, JB-Kuching and JB-KK.
Flight tickets for this period will begin 1 October, when the capacity increase will start to kick in as well.
As for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the selected routes are KL-Kota Bharu, KL-Kuching, KL-Alor Setar, KL-Kuala Terengganu and KL-KK, where ticket sales will start likely in February or March next year.
"If we still cannot reduce the price then we have to figure out other ways. We need to be proactive and find a fair approach for both consumers and airlines," Loke added.
Most importantly, don't wait until the last minute to buy your tickets back home. As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm!