Thursday, 10 April 2008: Rising prices are being combated by budget carrier Air Asia with the introduction of a fee for checked baggage from April 21.
The strategy parallels the innovation of long-haul brother to Air Asia, Air Asia X.
CEO Datuk Tony Fernandes noted that “one of the major causes is obviously fuel...you use more fuel when the aircraft is heavier.”
“What we are going to do is that every bag that you checked in, we will charge RM5 per bag but if you buy online on the days before then we will charge RM3 per bag,” he explained.
“Air Asia X has been doing this and has proven quite successful,” Fernandes alleged. “Hence we are going to do it at AirAsia from April 21.”
Previously booked flights will not incur the charge, but the new fees will assist the airline in shouldering rising costs.
Fernandes explained that “this is a way of passing on some of the extra costs directly to the people who need those extra bags.”
Air Asia is not only relying upon the precedent of Air Asia X, but recognises that the strategy has been successful in many premium European airlines, according to Bernama News Agency.
The previous system of incurring the costs of baggage within airfares appears to disadvantage those who only travel with hand luggage, as Fernandes noted that “those travelling with only hand luggage were subsidising those travelling with heavier checked baggage.”
“Now, the guests will pay for the bags they wish to travel with," he said.
In response to queries as to whether AirAsia would succumb to the raising of a fuel surcharge, Fernandes maintained that they had no intention, as the new fee was expected to offset almost 10 percent of the fuel costs and allow for fares to remain competitive.
Fernandes asserted that "We have to find new and innovative ways to keep our fares low so that the consumers are not hurt.”