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High price of domestic flight tickets angers passengers

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, January 11, 2019  /  05:36 pm
High price of domestic flight tickets angers passengers

Airline tickets are seen on a map. Both Sriwijaya Air and AirAsia have stated that no increase has been applied to their ticket fares. (Shutterstock/File)

The year-end holiday season may be over but some netizens are still complaining about the significantly high price of airline tickets, especially for domestic routes.

"Airline tickets for Jakarta-Surabaya that are usually priced at Rp 450,000 [US$32] to Rp 500,000 during low season, have now increased to Rp 990,000 as the lowest fare. Maybe not a problem for those who travel for leisure, but a very difficult situation for me and my husband who live far away from each other," shared @sifanisa on Twitter on Friday using hashtags #tiketpesawatmahal (expensive airline tickets) and #TurunkanHargaTiketPesawat (bring down flight ticket fares). 

"It's an absurd situation that tickets for Surabaya-Jakarta are more expensive than Surabaya-Kuala Lumpur on the same date," said @justandsam, also on Friday. He included screenshots showing low-cost carrier Indonesia AirAsia's fares for Surabaya-Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 11, which were priced at Rp 775,000 per person, and Surabaya-Jakarta at Rp 909,220.

Meanwhile @GilangForbid linked to the Transportation Ministry's official account @kemenhub151 when complaining how the fare for a Batam-Jakarta flight that is usually around Rp 500,000 had now almost doubled, "but why is the fare to Singapore so cheap? Can you come up with a solution for this?"

Since late December, a petition regarding the matter has circulated online, collecting more than 85,000 signatures by Friday afternoon out of a target of 150,000.

Created by Iskandar Zulkarnain from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, it calls on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and the CEOs of Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air to reduce the fares of domestic flights. 

"Since the crash of Lion Air flight JT 610 that was mourned by all Indonesian citizens, the fares for domestic flight tickets have increased up to the top limit," reads the petition. "Domestic flights that are usually priced below Rp 1 million for a return trip, are now over Rp 1 million on average, even up to Rp 2 million to Rp 4 million per person. The high fares are monitored for stability starting from January until several months ahead."

Read also: Indonesian domestic carriers among world's cheapest

"The unusual increase in domestic airfares is in contrast to the rise of ticket promos abroad offered by foreign airlines, hence Indonesians prefer to vacation abroad rather than inside the country."

Responding to the buzz, the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) stated on Thursday that the current price range of airline tickets was in accordance with the Transportation Ministry's regulation relating to maximum airfares.

"Airfares adjust to demand, which is still high since the Christmas and New Year holidays, especially to several big cities in Indonesia. Airlines also price their tickets according to the rise of supporting costs such as navigation, airport, avtur [aviation fuel] and the rupiah's fluctuating exchange rate against the United States dollar. However [the fares] are still below the ceiling stipulated by the Transportation Ministry," read the statement signed by the association's secretary general Tengku Burhanuddin.

Kontan.co.id reported in September that the ministry had proposed plans for a 5 percent increase in minimum airfares (TBB), from the previous 30 percent to 35 percent, to Maritime Affairs Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan as a result of the rupiah's weakening against the US dollar.

"As additional information, airline fares consist of several components other than basic fares that are regulated by the Transportation Ministry, namely insurance, PPN [value-added taxes] and PSC [passenger service charges], which are quite substantial," the statement continued, adding that it estimated the peak period to continue until Jan. 14.

Similar to INACA's response, Garuda Indonesia public relations senior manager Ikhsan Rosan told tribunnews.com on Thursday that the national flag carrier's ticket price range was in line with the ministry's regulation.

"In terms of fares, we always follow the regulation; never surpass the maximum airfare. This post-holiday, the demand to big cities is indeed still high," said Ikhsan.

Lion Air's corporate communications spokesman, Danang Mandala Prihantoro, voiced a similar response, "The ticket fares this January are in accordance with the regulation; they haven't surpassed the maximum limit."

Meanwhile, both Sriwijaya Air and AirAsia told tribunnews.com that no increase had been applied to their ticket fares.

"There is no increase in fares at Sriwijaya Air," stated the airline's district manager Brema P. Limbeng. 

"AirAsia has not yet applied any increase to our airline tickets until now," said AirAsia Indonesia's communications head Baskoro Adiwiyono, adding that the carrier was currently offering a new-year promo of 1.9 million promo seats starting from Rp 19,000 for international routes. (kes)