3 August 2019
AirAsia Group Bhd co-founder and executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun today expressed his disappointment over the high airport tax that has been imposed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) on passengers.
This follows after a protracted court battle between the MAHB and AirAsia which was triggered after the latter refused to collect RM73 Passenger Service Charges (PSC) or simply known as airport tax that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) had imposed on non-Asean flights at the klia2.
Posting his views on the matter on his Instagram today, Kamaruddin said the move had only affected the carrier’s position as a low-cost airline and its subsequent success in turning Kula Lumpur as the low-cost aviation capital of the world for the last 18 years.
“However, Malaysia’s sole airport operator #MAHB has unjustifiably increased Passenger Service Charges (PSC) last year from RM50 to RM73, but we refused to collect that extra amount from our passengers and were sued by MAHB.
“Last month, they obtained a summary judgment against us and while we appeal, we still have to pay monies we never collected from our passengers. Now, we have no choice, even as we appeal in courts, and will very soon have to collect the new charges from our passengers, making travel more expensive,’’ he said.
Kamarudin was referring to the High Court decision’s last month that ordered them to pay Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB) at least RM40.6 million owed in arrears of PSC.
AirAsia also lost its application to strike out the suit when the High Court allowed a summary judgment by MAHB — the parent company of MASSB — to be entered in the three civil suits against the airlines.
Kamarudin said while the airliner is now collecting the charges under protest, any collateral damage done by the high airport tax towards the nation’s position as a low-cost air travel hub is solely on the shoulders of MAHB.
“While we are doing it under protest, and know it burdens our passengers, we have no choice. That’s how a monopoly-like MAHB works.
“The tragedy will be that we are likely to lose our position as a low-cost hub. And that will be a loss to the country and to our hospitality industry. This, MAHB, is on you,’’ he said.