KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 8): Low-cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd and its affiliate AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) will start charging a passenger service charge (PSC) of RM73, from RM50 currently, for non-Asean international departures from klia2 starting midnight.
The low-cost airline group has only been charging RM50 per passenger on its flights as it felt klia2 passengers should not be paying the same PSC as those departing from the main terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which AirAsia and AAX deemed is more superior in terms of facilities and service quality.
But on July 18, a High Court ruling ordered AirAsia and AAX to pay Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) at least RM40.6 million over unpaid PSCs from July to December last year. AirAsia is appealing the decision.
In a statement today, AirAsia said it will be collecting the PSC of RM73 to destinations beyond Asean from midnight but "under protest" following the recent court ruling.
PSC, or airport tax, is charged by MAHB on all departing passengers for use of airport facilities and is collected by airlines such as AirAsia on behalf of the airport operator.
MAHB had imposed a PSC of RM73 on passengers using klia2 to destinations beyond Asean - the same rate as KLIA and other airports in the country - effective July last year.
"AirAsia will now collect the additional RM23 in PSC, and the differential amount will be clearly indicated in the itemised fare as 'PSC (Under Protest)'," it said.
AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said, "We will collect the full RM73 PSC but we do so under strong protest. Itemising the additional PSC will allow our 5.5 million guests departing from klia2 for non-Asean destinations annually to see how much they're paying for inferior facilities. I believe many will agree with us that they’re not getting their money's worth, especially when compared to the far superior facilities at KLIA.”
"Believe me, we really don't want to be doing this, and we sympathise with our guests," AAX Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said.
"PSC for passengers flying beyond Asean has more than doubled in less than two years from RM32 to RM73. This is an arbitrary hike and we will continue to oppose it until all our legal options are exhausted. However, we are forced to collect the additional RM23 as we cannot afford to continue subsidising our guests in the event our appeal falls through. We hope our guests will understand," he added.
AirAsia shares ended the morning session unchanged at RM1.79, with 5.44 million shares done, bringing a market capitalisation of RM5.98 billion. Shares of AAX were also unchanged at 20.5 sen, with 1.34 million shares traded and a market value of RM850.37 million.
MAHB shares were down 4 sen or 0.48% at RM8.37 at noon break, with 38,400 shares changing hands, valuing it at RM13.89 billion.