KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Malaysia Airlines has slashed fuel surcharges on international flights by as much as 73 per cent after taking into account the decline in fuel prices, competitive pressures and the need to boost air travel during this period of economic slowdown.

Effective tomorrow, the national carrier will remove fuel surcharge from its Singapore and Brunei flights, and reduce by up to 54 per cent the surcharge for flights to/from across Asean.

From Sunday, the fuel surcharge on flights from China will be reduced up to US$100 (RM350), flights from Australia and New Zealand reduced up to US$210 and flights from the Middle East will see a drop of up to US$150.

Africa and North America flights will also see a reduction of up to US$160 and US$185 respectively.

MAS commercial director Datuk Rashid Khan said: “We have always offered competitive fares that are benchmarked against our competitors on a route by route basis. The latest revision in fuel surcharge is to ensure even more competitive pricing.

“Our stand is this: the total amount the customer pays must be competitive, whether it’s the fares alone or fares in combination with the fuel surcharge. What’s important is the total sum of the parts.”

MAS had reduced fuel surcharge for domestic travel on Jan 14 and earlier reduced fuel surcharge for international travel from Malaysia to Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, France and Germany.

Oil prices have fallen by almost 75 per cent since hitting a record high last July of US$147 per barrel. Yesterday, jet fuel, which is priced higher compared to crude oil, was trading at US$55 per barrel.

Despite this, the carrier’s fuel costs are still higher compared to when the surcharge was first introduced in 2004.

“Fuel remains our biggest cost and our fuel bill for FY2008 will be higher than FY2007 as the fuel surcharge only covers about 30 per cent of fuel costs,” said Rashid.

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