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Good news for travellers. From Monday, MAS will implement its new fare structure, which will also see cheaper air ticket prices. 

In keeping with the global trend, MAS as a full service airline will be taking on its local low-cost rival AirAsia by expanding its classes of fare from eight to 16. 

A return economy air ticket to London during the low season could be as cheap as RM2,640 under the new structure while the present fare is RM3,685 (see graphic). For Hong Kong, a V class fare during low season will only cost RM1,270 compared to RM1,370.

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The fare differential between the different buckets is about 10%. 

These fares are over and above the Internet fares which the national carrier introduced last year. 

Industry sources who had been briefed about the new fares said the trick to getting the cheaper fares was to plan trips early. 

“Not all the fares will be cheaper than the one in the old structure. The new system is called fare buckets and each basket is drawn up according to restrictions,” one source said. 

“The highest class is the Y fare which will almost be free of any restriction. This means that a passenger can change the travelling date with minimal charges.  

“The lowest class is V and it will almost be impossible for travellers to make any changes and even if they can, the charges will be prohibitive.”  

Other sources said the new structure to be managed by the new RM200mil computer would even enable passengers to book their tickets 340 days in advance. 

However, they stressed that booking for cheap fares is not time-based; rather, it will be on a first-come-first-served basis. 

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“The system will be intelligent. If there is a lot of demand, then the system will reduce the number of cheaper fares but if there are a lot of seats available, then the number of cheaper ones will be increased,” said a source familiar with the computer system. 

He said that unlike low-cost carriers, the MAS new structure would allow the number of cheap tickets to fluctuate. 

He estimates that on a low demand flight during an off-peak season, the number of low-priced seats could go up by as much as 40% of the passenger load.  

When contacted, MAS head of Media Relations Tan Wai Fong confirmed that the new fare structure would be introduced in the local market on Jan15. 

“It will be introduced globally four days later,” she added.