PUTRAJAYA: The implementation of the increased Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) fees for airlines will be done in stages and will not take effect from Friday as originally planned.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the decision was made following Tuesday’s meeting with airline operators, who claimed that the proposed fee hike was “too sudden”.
He said implementing the hike in stages also meant that airfares were not expected to shoot up as speculated.
“An increase in the fees is inevitable, but we will stagger the increase. This will be a win-win situation for all parties,” he added.
After the session with the industry players, Liow said the industry could understand that the ministry’s intentions were good and noble.
“They have pledged to work with us, but they requested that we stagger the increase so they can plan their budget,” he said at his ministry yesterday.
He said the DCA would continue to engage with stakeholders on how best to stagger the fee increase, although no time frame was mentioned.
Initially, the new charges were to kick off on Friday, in anticipation of an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in May.
“Once all parties come to a full agreement, I will probably issue a statement. I do not want to tie down a time frame.
“But the industry understands our intention and our commitment to provide better services and is willing to further discuss with us and come up with a win-win situation,” said Liow.
The minister said that the move to increase the fees, which have remained unchanged since the 1970s, was for the betterment of the industry.
“All parties must understand that we are in the midst of transforming the DCA from a department into a Civil Aviation Authority.
“We need to provide better services, better equipment and better personnel.
“We also cover a wider range of services and all these require additional funds,” he said.
Liow had said on Tuesday that in order for the DCA to be upgraded into an authority, it needed to comply with several requirements by ICAO, to show that it was self-sustainable and could earn its own income to provide high quality services.