KUALA LUMPUR: Starting next year, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) will introduce a new passenger service charge (PSC) tier for travel to ASEAN countries at RM35 (US$8.30) per departing passenger, down from the current RM65 (US$15.50) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Malaysia is the first ASEAN country to introduce such a tier, MAVCOM said.
The aviation authority said in a statement on Monday (Oct 31) that the new tier for ASEAN flights is set between the revised PSC rate for domestic and international flights from KLIA, Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) and other Malaysian airports.
Current and revised PSC rates. (Source: MAVCOM)
The PSC for domestic flights will be made RM11 for all airports, up from previous rates of RM6 at KLIA2 and RM9 at KLIA and other airports.
Meanwhile, the PSC for international destinations excluding ASEAN countries will be raised to RM73 for KLIA and other airports, while rates for KLIA2 will be set at RM50.
The revised rates are effective Jan 1, 2017 and applicable to tickets issued from that date onwards.
Tickets issued before Jan 1, 2017 would not be subject to the new rates, even if the date of travel takes place on or after Jan 1, 2017, MAVCOM said.
In the long term, equalised PSC rates would facilitate an environment of fairer competition between airlines operating at these two terminals and also enable Malaysia to be better aligned to international guidelines, MAVCOM added. It said the introduction of the ASEAN PSC tier may increase the possibility of opening secondary gateways in ASEAN and consequently increase traffic inflows into points in Malaysia.
In formulating the PSC rates for airports in Malaysia, MAVCOM took into consideration the existing PSC rates in other airports around the region and globally. After the revised structure, passenger airport charges in Malaysia remain among the lowest regionally and globally, it said.
MAS, AIRASIA WELCOME CHANGE IN CHARGES
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has welcomed the changes in Malaysian airport charges. In a statement, MAS group chief executive Peter Bellew said: "Our customers now have the freedom to choose whatever terminal they wish in Kuala Lumpur.
"Together, the Malaysian industry needs to market Kuala Lumpur to attract new international services from a variety of carriers. A level charges system will help to get new long-haul flights in place," he said.
In a joint statement on Monday, AirAsia and AirAsia X said the introduction of the ASEAN rate was timely as 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.
“We appreciate the introduction of an ASEAN rate, which is a good move in light of decreasing tourism traffic,” they said.
"However, we are concerned with the new international rate, especially for our hub in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The international passengers will now have to pay double the PSC,” AirAsia and AirAsia X added. "This may decrease the number of international tourists and eventually force us to put the capacity elsewhere."
PRICE CHANGES 'NOT THE RIGHT TIME'
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) President Hamzah Rahmat has expressed shock by MAVCOM's announcement and said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 1) that the changes have come at a poor time, especially with the current inflation.
He said: “MATTA is not against the revision of the PSC, also known as airport tax, if done in a fair and consistent manner. But the timing could not be worst when many prices have shot up, including fuel and cooking oil.”
He added that under the current business climate, a moratorium will be in order to prevent an inflationary spike, but implementing the new PSC will do the exact opposite.
“MAVCOM must go back to the drawing board. In any case, it would serve our nation’s best interest if any increases in airport tax be deferred," said Mr Hamzah.
The PSC is levied on departing domestic and international passengers at all national airports. It is collected by the airlines upon purchase of tickets and paid to the airport operator following completion of the flight. Passengers who do not travel on a flight for which they have purchased their tickets are eligible for a full refund of the PSC.