I AM appalled by the recent Bernama commentary, “Equal charges will ensure KLIA passengers don’t subsidise KLIA2” (The Star, Nov 1), arguing that the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (Mavcom) decision to increase the passenger service charge (PSC) for KLIA2 should be “accepted and respected”.
According to Mavcom (and Bernama), services and facilities at KLIA2 are comparable with KLIA and it is on this basis that the equalisation of PSC should be “accepted”. This statement makes me question whether any of Mavcom’s senior management has travelled using the low-cost airport infamous for the 30-minute walk to the boarding gates and cramped terminal corridors.
Considering that a number of Mavcom’s senior management are former Malaysia Airlines representatives and the rest are from Khazanah, it’s easy to see that they belong to the privileged few who can choose to travel exclusively out of KLIA. Mavcom’s management likely has zero or very limited first-hand experience of the poor facilities and operations management of KLIA2. At least its policies make it seem that way.
While KLIA2 is indeed superior to other regional airports like Subang airport and Penang International Airport, it is so because of its need to handle the volume of travellers – especially budget travellers – who come through Kuala Lumpur every day.
I would suggest a system similar to what Firefly CEO Ignatius Ong suggested: Define a class system for airports so charges can be set accordingly.
KLIA is the first-class airport, followed by KLIA2, then smaller airports that serve international flights like Penang, Langkawi and Subang, and finally all other regional airports. This would improve transparency and ensure consistency, which the current management is clearly lacking.
Mavcom needs to demonstrate transparency of its operations before any policy should be “accepted”, much less “respected”. The commission claims that passengers out of KLIA are subsidising passengers at KLIA2. Yet, there has been no explanation on how this is true.
When the commission first announced the PSC several months ago, they promised to conduct a study to review the plausibility of the charges as well as the best mode of implementation. It seems as if amnesia has fallen upon yet another Malaysian institution.
We are inching closer to January 2018, and Mavcom is apparently increasingly adamant on implementing the charges proposed. But the review we were promised is still nowhere to be seen. Sadly, it has become common for us Malaysians to see organisations that are meant to protect the public’s interest ignore public sentiment in favour of personal interest instead. Mavcom has proven to be just the same.