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Chamber wants fixed Labuan-KK airfare
Published on: Sunday, July 16, 2017

Labuan: The Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce wants MASwings airfare for the Labuan-Kota Kinabalu (KK) sector to be based on a fixed price and not fluctuate between a few hundred ringgit and more than RM1,000, especially during peak seasons like festivals and holidays.

Its Chairman, Datuk Wong Kii Yii, proposed the fixed one-way fare for the 30-minute journey at RM130 and RM250 for a return ticket.

"The present regular one-way fare is RM219," he said.

He pointed out that reasonable fares would encourage more tourists to visit the island, especially now that "we have become more dependent on tourism and developing the industry to make up for the loss due to the drop in oil and gas activities."

He recalled that since the island was badly hit by the downtrend in the crude oil prices, Putrajaya had urged all ministries to lend a helping hand to help economically prop up the island again.

"As such, it would be in line for the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to look into Labuan's plight and lower the airfares between Labuan and KK."

Wong said if necessary, the airfare between the two destinations should be subsidised just as the Government was subsidising some other items like the transportation cost of cargoes from KK to Labuan using ro-ro (rill-on roll-off) ferries, for which some RM10 million has been allocated.

He went on to say that what should be considered is that most people who relied on MASwings were not corporate travellers who could claim their travel expenses but employees travelling on their own expenses, which was a financial burden to them.

Paying about RM400 for a return flight from Labuan to KK was beyond the affordability of many and there was no other quick alternative way of travelling between the two destinations.

Wong said he had discussed the matter with the airline's CEO, Aminuddin Zakari.

"We find the CEO to be helpful and eager to solve problems but certain matters such as lower airfares is beyond his powers.

"As such, MOT officials should look into the matter and we are prepared to discuss with them, including the Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Ting Lai."

On another development, Wong said there were problems related to air services not only in the Labuan-KK sector but also the Labuan-Miri sector.

Though he did not elaborate the problems, he noted that co-operation between the airline's ground service staff and office didn't seem to be smooth and this gave rise to passenger inconveniences. - Sohan Das

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