PETALING JAYA: Increasing flight frequencies during peak season to boost capacity is effective in overcoming congestion and lowering air fares, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

The people, said the former transport minister, are looking forward to more air flights and lower fares, especially those wishing to return to their hometown to be with their loved ones for the festivities.

“I am confident that this can be (achieved), especially with the new Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Complex (KLATCC), which will increase the movement of flights at KL International Airport and KLIA2 to 108 an hour with the simultaneous use of three lanes, compared to only 84 an hour with only two lanes previously.

“In May, when the borders were reopened, many airlines were having difficulties providing additional flights because many of their aircraft were grounded during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Because of that, they had to go through a rather long maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) process before being allowed to operate for the safety of the people,” he said in a post on Facebook yesterday.

However, with more aircraft having going through the MRO process by now, airlines should be able to provide additional flights at a lower price, said Dr Wee.

“I am confident that the Transport Ministry under the unity government will continue to work on this matter. Hopefully, airlines are able to offer additional flights at midnight with low airfares, especially during the approaching holiday season,” he said.

Dr Wee was responding to reports of a hike in return airfares from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak during the festive season.

Both the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) have discussed additional flights with airlines.

Furthermore, it was recommended a few months ago that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) extend operations during peak season, which was agreed to in principle.

“Very soon we will be celebrating Chinese New Year and after that, Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“We hope that Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Batik Air and the new local airline MyAirline, which started its operations in December, can implement these suggestions and offer cheaper airfares during festive seasons,” he said.