Airfares soar sky-high for Idul Fitri
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Airline passengers traveling to their hometowns just a few days ahead of the Idul Fitri festivities will have to spend more on tickets as most airlines have raised their fares to take the advantage of the increased traffic.
Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang S Ervan said most airlines had increased their fares to the top range of the government’s price ceiling.
Although the fares are still within the parameters allowed by the government, the fares of some airlines for certain destinations have increased sharply. For example, Batavia Air’s one-way Jakarta-Medan ticket has doubled from Rp 826,900 (US$86.82) on normal days to Rp 1.74 million for travel on Aug. 17 and 18, the peak days.
“This is purely a market mechanism. When demand increases, the price will follow. During the Idul Fitri exodus, every airline is taking advantage by charging the passengers the maximum ceiling price as regulated by the government,” Bambang said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
According to Transportation Ministry regulation No. 26/2010 on ceiling price mechanisms for scheduled flights, a full-service carrier is allowed to charge up to 100 percent of the ceiling price, while medium- and low-cost players are allowed to charge up to 90 percent and 85 percent, respectively.
“What we are doing now is monitoring the implementation of the pricing mechanisms closely. The air transportation directorate is collaborating with state-owned airport operators [Angkasa Pura I and Angkasa Pura II] and other related parties to prevent violations of the regulation,” Bambang added.
He said that as of today, the team had yet to find pricing violations from any airline.
According to The Jakarta Post’s observation on Wednesday, fares to traditional Idul Fitri destinations such as Surabaya, East Java; Medan, North Sumatra; and Makassar, South Sulawesi remain high until Aug. 18.
A one-way ticket from Jakarta to Medan with full-service airline Garuda Indonesia would cost passengers Rp 1.81 million, excluding the 10 percent value-added tax, insurance, and the passenger service charge or airport tax. Regular season fares to Medan range between Rp 1.2 million and Rp 1.5 million.
If passengers are on a tighter budget, they can fly with Sriwijaya Air, which offers a one-way Jakarta-Medan ticket for Rp 1.5 million, with Lion Air for Rp 1.4 million or with Citilink Indonesia for Rp 1.38 million.
Garuda Indonesia offers peak period one-way service from Jakarta to Surabaya for Rp 1.33 million, while Sriwijaya Air and Citilink Indonesia offer to carry passengers for Rp 1.19 million and Rp 927,000, respectively.
“These prices are still within the limits of the ministry’s regulation on ceiling price mechanisms,” he said.
Based on the regulation, the maximum price for flights from Jakarta to Medan and Surabaya are Rp 1.84 million and Rp 1.20 million, excluding taxes and insurance, respectively, Bambang said.
The Post found out that tickets for travel before Aug. 17 were sold out to traditional mudik destinations. Some tickets are still available for Aug. 18, just a day before Lebaran, as Idul Fitri is locally known.
The government predicts a 10 percent increase in the number of airline passengers during the Idul Fitri exodus this year.
The Transportation Ministry said the number of passengers was expected to reach 3,285,788, up from 2,987,081 passengers in 2011.