AirAsia ignores airport tax increase
Posted on 25 November 2011 - 05:37amPETALING JAYA (Nov 25, 2011): Budget carrier AirAsia Bhd said it will continue to ignore the government-imposed airport tax hike on departing international passengers at the current low cost-carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, in an act of defiance against the move.
The higher airport tax rate came into effect 10 days ago.
In a post on its Facebook fan page yesterday, AirAsia head of commercial, Jasmine Lee, said the carrier will continue to lobby the government "not in favour of the airport tax rise".
It blamed airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) over the move to increase airport charges, saying the poor facilities at the LCCT does not justify the increase.
"Look at the queue at the immigration, space for check-in counters, quality of toilets, cleanliness of the facilities — is it really worth the increase?" Lee said.
In an earlier posting on Wednesday, AirAsia regional head of commercial, Kathleen Tan, said: "You (MAHB) can increase if you improve the facilities. I don't see the justification for it as our guests (passengers) are the ones paying for it, and it costs more to fly now."
Airlines like AirAsia collect the airport tax on behalf of MAHB.
MAHB had on Oct 27 received the Transport Ministry's nod to raise the airport tax on international passengers from Nov 15. Under the move, departing international passengers at the LCCT in Sepang and Terminal 2 Kota Kinabalu have to pay RM32, up RM7 from RM25 previously.
According to industry observers, the move by AirAsia is unprecedented.
"They (AirAsia) would have to sort the matter out with the Transport Ministry as any increase or decrease in airport charges are within the latter's purview, and not MAHB," said an observer.
"Back in 2007, the Transport Ministry was also the one who halved the airport tax at the LCCT from RM51 to RM25 for international passengers and from RM9 to RM6 for domestic passengers," he added.