KUALA LUMPUR: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said it has yet to receive any proposal from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to increase the passenger service charge, commonly known as airport tax, dismissing the reports as “pure speculation”.
Earlier yesterday, DAP national publicity secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua raised concerns in Parliament that the ministry may approve the airport tax hike after MAHB saw its net profit plunge 98.6% to RM1.61 million for its third quarter ended Sept 30 (3QFY14) from RM112.78 million a year ago.
“As earnings and cash flow decline sharply for the airport operator, it is clear that MAHB will appeal to the government to approve massive increases in airport tax, and the government will in turn be hard pressed not to approve the hike in order to bail out MAHB,” Pua told reporters.
“According to media reports on MAHB analyst briefings, the operator has already proposed to the government to increase domestic klia2 charges by 50% from RM6 to RM9. For international passengers, the hike is even steeper at more than 100% from RM32 to RM65,” he said.
Pua noted that without a hike in airport tax, MAHB is expected not to be able to fulfil its debt obligations when due in 2023.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 5, 2014.