Malaysian airline AirAsia Bhd responded today to the claims from Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin that he was charged RM2,000 for a one-way trip from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan. Bung claimed that the budget carrier is charging an exorbitantly high fare for the route and has many “hidden charges” as well.
Bung accused both AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines of not providing good enough services to Sabah. He said that AirAsia is not operating as an LCC but is instead charging too many “hidden fees”. He also asked MAB to look more into what the customers need, rather than what they want.
AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Aireen Omar said that a one-way flight between Kuala Lumpur and Sandakan has a price ceiling of RM1,180 and that the average price is RM213 for a one-way flight.
She said in a statement:
The claim by the MP that a one-way flight on that route costs RM2,000 is completely untrue. The average one-way fare for AirAsia flights between Kuala Lumpur and Sandakan is RM213. Even during peak season, when AirAsia operates flights with 100 per cent load factor, our highest fare was about RM1,180, which still remain lowest in the market.
There are also no ‘hidden charges’ as alleged by the MP. AirAsia guests have the option of choosing how they want to fly and what products they wish to pay for, and all fees and charges are clearly stated on our website and mobile app.
AirAsia CEO also pointed out that that they are the first to connect KL and Sandakan. AirAsia started flying the route in 2003.
We remain committed to the route, increasing flight frequency to 18 times weekly. To date, we have flown over 5 million guests to and from Sandakan. We have invested substantially in marketing the route, by providing millions of free and promotional seats. These promotional fares, which are sold based on a first come, first served basis, have been tremendously enjoyed by Sabahans.
Aireen invited Bung to look at airport terminals in the country and also look into customer feedback, saying:
The rakyat in Sandakan are being forced to pay the same airport tax as travellers who use KLIA for far inferior services.