Decision on raising tax not under MAHB’s purview

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said it will have to await the federal government’s decision on whether to increase the airport tax.

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

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

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

MAHB received its first ROFR on Sept 16 from Turkish conglomerate Limak Holding AS, 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 Malaysian Airline System Bhd’s rationalisation plans may cause a dip in passenger numbers, Badlisham said this is not a cause for concern as the slack will be taken up by other airlines should this occur.

“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.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 14, 2014.