Thursday, January 26, 2006

Malaysian Air Travellers To Pay Extra Starting Feb 1

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- Travellers purchasing air tickets from local ticketing agents will have to fork out an extra RM30 for international destinations and RM10 for domestic destinations effective Feb 1.

This agency collection fee is imposed by Matta to defray the cost incurred in collecting insurance surcharges, fuel surcharges and airport taxes of which they are not paid any commissions by the airlines or airport authorities.

Rural air service sectors, however, are excluded from this fee while flights to Singapore and Brunei follow the domestic destination's rate.

Matta president Ngiam Foon told reporters here today that agents only received commissions of up to nine percent from the airlines for selling air tickets excluding the surcharges which are considered as non-revenue items (NRI).

However, he said collecting the NRI has caused the agents to incur additional costs like credit risk, interest charges and guarantee costs which have become significant due to the rising oil prices.

Citing an example, he said a return ticket to Sydney today cost about RM2,800 of which RM630 or 23 percent is the NRI.

"These NRI have become a very significant part of the total ticket process, averaging between 15 percent and 33 percent of the total ticket price and yet agents' revenues still calculated based only on the airfare portion.

"With decreasing revenues from thinning margins, collecting these NRI now becomes a financial burden for the agents," he said.

The fee is necessary to ensure Matta members can continue to provide an acceptable level of service to the travelling public.

They include giving advice on flight and fare options, plan complicated itineraries, useful destination tips, visa application assistance, hotel bookings and travel insurance.

"Considering the service we are providing to our customers, the fee is very reasonable," he said.

He added such fee had already been implemented in Hong Kong where a fixed amount is collected from the customers for all the work and service done in the collection of NRI.


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