KUALA LUMPUR: All AirAsia and AirAsia X passengers will now no longer have to pay for the fuel surcharge for all local and international flights.

AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the move – effective Tuesday – would mean that passengers would now only have to pay for the fare, airport tax and administration fee when flying with them.

Fernandes explained that “getting rid of the fuel surcharge” would not affect the base rate of the air fare, but he could not guarantee that the airline would never re-impose the surcharge should world fuel prices skyrocket again.

“We’re not increasing the base rate. It is what it is.

“But if fuel prices shoot up … I’ll be crazy to say I’ll never add the fuel surcharge again. But we will resist for as long as we can,” he told reporters Tuesday after making the announcement here.

The check-in baggage handling fee, however, would be maintained as it was imposed not only because of rising fuel prices earlier this year.

“We did it (in April) for three reasons – fuel prices, to limit the number of luggage, and to be more environmentally-friendly.

“The lighter the plane is, the less emissions it will have,” he said.

Fernandes also announced that beginning Wednesday, the airline would be offering some 500,000 free seats to all AirAsia destinations.

The booking period is until Sunday, and the travel period for the free seats is from June 22 to Oct 24 next year.

“There are two ways to deal with a slow economy. You’ve got to give more value, and you’ve got to stimulate people to travel.

“That’s what we’re doing now,” he said.

On the fuel surcharge, he said that it had previously cost passengers an average of RM47 per person.

Asked how the he planned to deal with the impact by removing the fuel surcharge, he replied:

“Higher load factor and newer initiatives to increase our revenue will help cover it. We’re keeping our 76% load factor, while adding 20% more seats.

“We’ll look at other ways of increasing our revenue. The easiest drug is fuel surcharge but it also destroys the business.”

Also present at the announcement was Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, who applauded AirAsia’s move.  Source – TheStar

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