Monday, August 21, 2006

MAS fares to increase today

By WONG SAI WAN

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has increased its domestic fares from today, with the bulk of the rise being for the flights across the South China Sea as well as within Sabah and Sarawak.

Sources familiar with the new fares said the increase was more than the average of 15% for economy and 25% for business class that was announced by MAS managing director Idris Jala on July 31.

According to them, some of the increases were more than 30% for economy class.

“The majority of the routes within Sabah and Sarawak will see the highest increase as operational costs for these sectors are also the highest,” said one source.

MAS has always argued that despite the increases, its domestic fares were “still among the lowest in the world”. The cost of flying on MAS is only 62 sen per mile, which is lower than the cost of flying in countries like Thailand, China, the Philippines, France and Japan.

The national carrier is expected to announce the fare increase for their international routes in a few weeks’ time.

An industry player who had a peek at the new fare structure said a one-way economy fare, including taxes, between KLIA and Penang would now cost RM227 compared to RM184 previously. This is an increase of about 23%.

MAS officials, however, said the increase would only be reflected in normal fares as MAS was also going to follow the pricing technique used by its local rival AirAsia.

MAS domestic fares will be quoted in at least six baskets. The cheapest basket of prices will be for those who book and had their tickets issued early while the most expensive will be for last-minute buyers.

“MAS is likely to give discounts for those who make their travel plans early, especially those who make use of the Internet booking system.

“The experience MAS got from the MAS Mega Travel Fair showed that there were Malaysians who were willing to make early confirmed travel plans provided the discounts are good,” said a travel industry insider.

Source: The Star

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