MAHB says it has been complying with government gazette

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 14, 2018.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has come out to say that it has been complying with a government gazette that took effect on Jan 1, which mandates that airlines operating out of klia2 charge a passenger service charge (PSC) of RM73 for international flights beyond Asean — the same rate as at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and other airports in the country.

“MAHB had implemented the equalisation of [the] international non-Asean PSC of RM73 with effect from July 1, 2018, in accordance with the regulated rate,” the airport operator told The Edge Financial Daily yesterday.

It was responding to a report by The Edge Financial Daily yesterday which stated that MAHB was still giving AirAsia Group Bhd the privilege to charge a lower PSC of RM50 for passengers flying out of klia2 to international destinations beyond Asean, compared with the ceiling price of RM73 fixed by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

“We wish to clarify that this statement is inaccurate ... as it had implied that MAHB is non-compliant in a matter which had been gazetted by the government,” said MAHB.

It is understood that MAHB has continued to bill AirAsia at the rate of RM73 per passenger for international destinations beyond Asean. At press time, checks with the AirAsia.com website showed that the low-cost carrier still charged a rate of RM50 for its international passengers.

It is unclear if AirAsia is absorbing the RM23 difference. An AirAsia spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

The PSC is paid by departing passengers and is collected by the airlines upon purchase of tickets. It is only paid to MAHB upon completion of the flight.

MAHB acting group chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin also did not respond to a request for comment.

In September, The Edge Malaysia weekly reported that the Board of Airline Representatives in Malaysia (BAR-Malaysia) — an organisation representing the majority of full-service carriers (FSCs) here — had sent a letter addressed to Raja Azmi over the non-compliance of AirAsia with the new PSC.

On Nov 30 last year, Mavcom announced the completion of the equalisation exercise of the PSC to be implemented across KLIA, klia2 and all other airports in Malaysia, with the PSC for international destinations beyond Asean out of klia2 raised to RM73 from RM50 from Jan 1. The move was meant to put an end to nearly a decade of discord between FSCs and AirAsia over the different rates.

On May 28, however, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook reportedly said that a lower PSC at klia2 is good for passengers.

“That (PSC) is between airlines and airport [operators]. Mavcom only sets a ceiling price. Of course, if the airport [operators] and airlines could come to an agreement on a lower charge, to me that is good for the passengers. I am sure Mavcom has no objection to that because that is just a ceiling price,” he had said.