3 June 2019
AirAsia Group Bhd is hopeful that the new passenger service charge (PSC) will be revised to RM25-RM30 for passengers travelling via the low-cost terminal in Sepang.
The new PSC rate is scheduled to be published by October this year, according to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM).
The PSC charges are currently at RM35 and RM73 for outbound travellers to Asean and other international destinations respectively.
In an interview with the New Straits Times recently, AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said keeping costs low would help low cost carriers (LCCs) maintain their cheap fares and boost the travel industry.
“We should focus on growth to get more income into the country and help tourism, as opposed to taxing tourism,” he said, adding that over taxing the tourism sector would have short-term gains but long-term pain.
Fernandes said AirAsia believesd that the tourism sector provides the best opportunity for the Malaysian economy to provide jobs and grow.
“It is the second biggest gross domestic product earner for the country. We think the tourism industry is being overtaxed, by hotel tax and soon the exit tax,” he said.
Fernandes also lamented that there should be more engagement between the airline and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), the airport operator.
“Airports can’t survive without airlines and airlines can’t survive without airports. Throughout AirAsia’s 18 years in Malaysia, we have talked less with the local airport than with airports players outside Malaysia.
“I continue to welcome any chance to have a dialogue with Malaysia Airports,” he said.
Fernandes said as an LCC and the largest customer at the second terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (klia2), AirAsia needs an airport that best suits its business model, which is different from a full service carrier (FSC).
“All we ever wanted is a terminal that fits our needs. We want low cost to keep lower air fares. Any decent partner will (help us) do that.
“AirAsia’s load factor is not only driven by domestic but more foreign people coming here (Malaysia). We want to bring in more tourists into the country.
“We want an airport that cares about (operations). We want to put branding and make the airport exciting. But they want to charge us for everything and there is no sense of partnership,” he said.
Fernandes said despite these issues, the airline had continued to grow and provide employment and travel opportunities for Malaysians over the years.
“Imagine what we could do if we were supported by the airport, especially in the east coast and East Malaysia where tourism potential is huge,” he said.