Airlines projected to lose RM10.9 billion in 2020, says Wee

(FMT) – Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong says airline companies could lose around RM10.9 billion this year, largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on flights around the world.

In a press conference at Parliament today, Wee said airport operators were also projected to suffer losses of around RM2.1 billion in the 2020 financial year.

He said a total of 169,728 flights had been cancelled for Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air, affecting more than four million passengers.

He said 1.2 million passengers opted to postpone their flights to a later date while 1.9 million chose to be refunded with credit notes totalling nearly RM125 million.

Around 628,000 passengers opted for cash refunds, costing airlines a combined total of RM400 million. Malaysia Airlines in particular forked out RM294 million for 190,000 customers.

Wee said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) had assisted these passengers by asking companies to issue refunds on a case-by-case basis.

On the issue of high airfares for domestic flights, he said all airline companies had been asked to help. However, he maintained that Putrajaya does not control ticket prices but leaves these to the market to decide.

“I have directed Mavcom to monitor. There is already a downward trend in prices,” he said.

He also advised the public to avoid booking tickets at the last minute and for peak seasons such as school holidays and festive periods, saying this will help lower prices.