Decision on raising airport tax not under MAHB’s purview

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said it will have to await the federal government’s decision as to whether or not to increase the airport tax.

“The passenger service charge or airport tax is a gazette tax by the government, who will decide the rates, [not] MAHB,” MAHB managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali told pressmen during a ‘Customer Comes First’ media tour today.

He said charges for domestic and international passengers now are RM6 and RM32, respectively.

On a separate issue, Ghazali said MAHB is still considering the second rights of first refusal (ROFR) it received for Turkish airport, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (ISG), adding that being offered two ROFRs is “not something unusual”.

MAHB had received its first ROFR on Sept 16 from Turkish conglomerate Limak Holding, in relation to TAV Airports Holding’s offer to acquire from Limak a 40% equity stake in ISG.

On the lapse of the first ROFR, Limak made a second ROFR offer on Oct 1, to which MAHB has 10 working days to decide on the offer.

On whether or not Malaysia Airlines (MAS)’s rationalisation plans may cause a dip in passenger numbers, Ghazali said this is not a cause for concern as the slack will be taken up by other airlines should this occur.

“We don’t know what MAS rationalisation [plans] are, but [we have observed that] when other airlines have implemented rationalisation plans, other carriers will take up their capacity,” he said, citing Malindo which has added several new routes to and from Malaysia.

“Our growth rate so far for klia in total has been above 9% against last year, so this tells you how strong our airline partners are in going to new destinations and with higher frequencies,” he said, adding that MAHB is constantly marketing itself to new airlines.

According to Ghazali, MAHB has taken steps to improve customer experience and convenience at klia2, with the installment of additional walkalators and buggies for airport passengers.

MAHB closed 0.6% or 4 sen lower at RM6.99 today, giving it a market capitalisation of RM9.65 billion.