MATTA : Timing Could Not Be Worse For Passenger Airport Tax Hikes

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — It is not the right time to raise Passenger Service Charge (PSC) rates at Malaysian airports amid fuel and cooking oil price hikes, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) said today.

In a statement, Matta president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat said he was “shocked” by the PSC rate hikes by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) that will be effective beginning January 1, 2017.

“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 [sic] when many prices have shot up, including fuel and cooking oil,” he said.

Cooking oil subsidy will be removed for all package sizes, except 1kg polybags that will remain priced at RM2.50, starting today, while retail prices for RON95 and RON97 petrol went up by 15 sen per litre at midnight.

Hamzah said that the move makes relevant agencies look as though they are “bent on curbing” domestic and international tourism, while claiming that the hikes would affect passengers more than it would hurt low cost airline operators.

“The 83 per cent increase for PSC on domestic flights and 56 per cent increase for international flights at klia2 will hurt the passengers much more than the budget airlines operating from this low cost carrier terminal,” he said.

Beginning January 1, the PSC for non-Asean international flights will go up to RM73 from RM65 in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and to RM50 from RM32 in klia2, as part of Mavcom’s attempt to equalise PSC fares between both airports.

Mavcom also said that it will conduct a review one year after the new fees come into effect, with a view of equalising non-Asean international flight PSCs between both terminals.

The charges for domestic and Asean flights from both terminals have been equalised at RM11 and RM35 per passenger respectively.

However, Hamzah stressed that klia2 was built as a low cost carrier terminal and hence, passengers there should be charged less than KLIA passengers.

“It is also well known that KLIA2 was built as a low cost carrier terminal catering for budget travellers and airlines. As such, passengers should be charged lower airport tax than KLIA, which has won global accolades and catering to premium airlines,” he said.

He said that MAVCOM should “go back to the drawing board” regarding the announced fee hikes and said that it would be in the “nation’s best interest” for the new fees to be deferred.

“In such a scenario, any increase in charges will come to naught and back to square one as well as short term gain will be a long term loss to tourism in Malaysia,” Hamzah said.