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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Airport tax to increase in Sept? No such thing, say ministry, MAHB


A source from the aviation industry has claimed that the airport tax or passenger service charge (PSC) will be increased come Sept 1.
However, both the Transport Ministry and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) have denied this.
“No increase (of the PSC). (There has been) no decision to increase the PSC,” Deputy Transport Minister Ab Aziz Kaprawi told Malaysiakini.
Aziz, however, admitted that the matter was indeed discussed by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
Meanwhile, MAHB, too, said it has not been informed of the purported plan to increase the PSC.
MAHB managing director Badlisham Ghazali said the common practice was to provide a 30 to 120 days’ notice to the industry of any changes to the PSC rates.
“This is to establish that the new charges are included for forward ticket sales for flights that are on and after the effective date of the new rates.
“As far as I know, we have not been informed of any changes to the PSC rates to be effective in September,” he said.
Badlisham (photo), however, said the revision of the PSC was the prerogative of Mavcom as the tax was a mandated charge by the government.
“PSC rates in Malaysia remain among the lowest in the region.
“However, I am reminded of the statement by Mavcom last year on the review of PSC rates after an assessment period in 2017 on the effect of the growth of passengers within the Asean region,” he added.
Malaysiakini has contacted Mavcom and is awaiting its response on the matter.
'Increase will reduce number of air travelers'
A source from the aviation industry had told Malaysiakini that the increased PSC rates will come into effect on Sept 1 despite having only been revised on Jan 1.
The current PSC rates are RM11 for domestic flights, RM35 for flights to Asean countries and RM73 for international flights out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and other airports nationwide, while RM50 is imposed on passengers flying to international destinations from KLIA2.
The source had argued that increasing the PSC would only reduce the number of air travelers as the overall price of a ticket would increase. This is especially so for passengers flying low-cost carriers who are price sensitive.
“If the airport tax is reduced, the number of passengers will increase and this will be good for the country’s tourism.
“If air travel is affordable, this will be good for the country’s economic growth,” the source added.
The source had also argued that the standardised PSC rates (for domestic flights and flights to Asean countries) were not fair as each airport offers different facilities and services.
“International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) policies state that airlines and airport users shouldn’t be charged for facilities they don’t use.

“Also, major issues at KLIA2 such as fuel leaks and surface depression certainly do not justify the PSC hike,” the source said.
The PSC is collected by airlines upon purchase of air tickets and is paid to airport operator MAHB following completion of the flight.
Passengers who have purchased their tickets but do not travel on the flight are eligible for a full refund of the PSC. -Mkini

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