PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) attempt to compare KLIA2 charges with full-scale terminals in other Asian countries is fundamentally wrong and is a disservice to the public, says AirAsia Bhd.
Its CEO Riad Asmat said from the onset, KLIA2 was deemed a low-cost terminal as specified on the websites of both MAHB and the Transport Ministry.
He said, however, MAHB insists on charging the same amount for KLIA2 it does for KLIA, a full-service terminal.
“The facilities and level of service at KLIA2 are inferior to those provided at KLIA, hence, the rates cannot and should not be the same,” he said in a statement on Monday (Feb 4).
Riad was responding to a statement by MAHB that the rationale to equalise Passenger Service Charge (PSC) across all airports was a move towards a more internationally accepted cost-based mechanism, which is consistent with the principles outlined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
MAHB also said that the PSC rates are under the purview of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) - an independent economic regulator to the civil aviation industry – as stated under Section 46 of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015.
“On all points, our position remains that there are two different service levels at KLIA (premium) and KLIA2 (low-cost), hence the decision to charge the same airport tax is fundamentally wrong and against the principal of non-discriminatory pricing, which assumes comparable service levels,” Riad added.
He said the government had long stated that it intends to position the country as a low-cost hub to promote tourism, a major economic sector.
“MAHB’s blatant disregard for this by attempting to compare airport charges with those of full-scale terminals in other Asian countries - many of which are now moving towards building low-cost carrier terminals (LCCTs) - is not only duplicitous, it is also doing a disservice to the people of Malaysia,” he said.
AirAsia also disputed MAHB’s contention that it has no say in determining airport tax rates as MAHB, as the airport operator, is involved in the process every step of the way.
“On our part, in partnership and cooperation with, and in support of, the Malaysian government, AirAsia has worked hard to ensure air travel remains affordable to everyone.
"This can be seen in our practice of offering low fares since our inception and mounting extra flights during peak festive periods, such as for the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday.
“As stated previously, we will continue to make air travel accessible to all and to ensure fairness of charges for consumers based on services, including those provided by MAHB, and we believe that the public should not be made to suffer for the sake of enriching a monopoly,” he said.