Malaysian Aviation Commission exploring charging airline passengers

Extra fees: If RM1 is charged per airline passenger, Mavcom can easily make RM83mil a year.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), set up in March, is exploring the possibility of charging a small amount of up to RM1 per airline passenger to fund its operations, aviation executives said.

Besides charging airline passengers, other sources of income include charging for licences. Sources said the existing charges for the passenger service charges (PSC) for travellers had also come under review.

“At this stage it is still exploring and a decision has to be made at some point. Since it began, it had been funded by the Government,’’ an airline executive said.

A total of 83.5 million passengers travelled through the many airports in the country last year and this year the numbers will be higher as demand for air travel in this region remains buoyant.

“If they charge RM1 per passenger, they can easily make RM83.5mil a year, and this does not include the other licencing fees they will be collecting from airlines.

While passengers have funded civil aviation authorities’ operations in countries such as Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, UAE, England and Germany, other countries, Malaysia included, have so far resisted attempts to impose on passengers who are already burdened by onerous airport charges.

“The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Energy Commission and the Securities Commission are regulators that do not depend on consumers for funding. They impose fees and manage their operations from those fees. Perhaps Mavcom should look in that direction instead of getting travellers to fork out money to sustain them,’’ said another industry executive.

Mavcom regulates economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in the country. It will introduce a set of regulations for the industry and help the Government map the future of the industry.

It also will issue some licences to airlines, ground handlers and aerodrome operations, from which it can collect fees to sustain its operations. However the amount collected may not be sufficient, hence, it is eyeing the travellers’ option.

“The imposition of any fee will have an impact on the travel industry and the consumer even though the fee may be small. It just adds to the amount travellers need to pay.

“With the PSC hike, it will just raise the cost of travelling,’’ the executive said, adding that travellers already have to pay for the PSC, administrative fees, ancillary charges and even travel insurance on top of the airfare.

He added that some airlines have not removed the fuel surcharge they had imposed years ago. For now fuel charges remain reasonable, but if fuel prices were to rise further, airlines may impose fuel surcharges, adding to charges on the consumers.

“No doubt travelling by air is a luxury but don’t tax the traveller to stymie demand growth,’’ he adds.

The current PSC at KLIA2 for international and domestic destinations are RM32 and RM6 per passenger, while at KLIA, they are RM65 and RM9 respectively.

Mavcom will allocate and manage air traffic rights, provide a mechanism to resolve disputes among players, monitor slot allocation for airlines and airport operators and be involved in consumer protection.

It is launching the consumer protection forum today so that it becomes a facilitator for consumer disputes with airlines.

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