Airport Tax Increase - NOT THE RIGHT TIME

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 November 2016: Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) President Datuk Hj Hamzah Rahmat is shocked by the announcement made by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MavCom) that the new Passenger Service Charge (PSC) will be effective from 1 January next year.

Hamzah 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.”

“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.”

“The 83 percent increase for PSC on domestic flights and 56 percent increase for international flights at KLIA2 will hurt the passengers much more than the budget airlines operating from this low cost carrier terminal.”

“It is as if we are bent on curbing domestic and international tourism when the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Tourism Malaysia, is making every effort to promote visitor arrivals.”

“While it is bad enough to negate the noble efforts of many dedicated government officials, the increase in PSC is not justified, given that many basic facilities are not up to par.”

“While modern airports around the world and especially around the REGION are equipped with body scanners, we are still using pat-downs and frisking passengers when they ought to be treated with decorum.”

“Basic amenities such as clean toiles and proper security equipment should be in place before any increase in PSC, as there is no justification to pay more for getting the same poor standard of service in many airports, including Langkawi.”

“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.”

“This is recognised by MAVCOM as the proposed new rates for international flights are pegged at RM50 for KLIA2 and RM73 for KLIA.”

“MAVCOM must go back to the drawing board. In any case, it would serve our nation’s interest best if any increase of airport tax be deferred. Adding fuel to the fire would only result in runaway inflation. 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’, concluded Hamzah.