A MAJOR highlight during the year for the airline industry was the announcement of the new Passenger Service Charge (PSC), previously known as “airport tax”, for all airports with effect from Jan 1 next year. The announcement came from the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) on Oct 31, with the key feature of the revised PSC rates being the introduction of a three-tier system. Under it, the rates for domestic flights goes up from RM9 and RM6 to a flat rate of RM11, while the new rate for Asean destinations, which is RM65 for KLIA and RM32 for klia2, will be standardised at RM35. In the case of international flights, which is currently RM65 for KLIA and RM32 for klia2, the fees will be RM73 and RM50 respectively. Malaysia is the first country to introduce the Asean tier rates. PSC is paid by departing passengers to airlines on purchase of tickets and is only paid to MAHB on completion of the flight. Passengers who do not travel on the flight for which they have purchased tickets are eligible for a full refund on the PSC, which they can obtain from the airline. March 1: Mavcom was formally established under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 as an independent entity to regulate economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation to promote a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry supporting the nation’s economic growth. It regulates, among others, economic matters relating to the civil aviation industry, consumer protection, and provides a mechanism for dispute resolution between aviation industry players, and administer and manage air traffic rights. April 9: Syariah-complaint airline Rayani Air, which started operations on Dec 22, 2015, suspended its operations, citing “restructuring exercises”. Mavcom announced on June 13 that Rayani Air’s licence had been revoked, saying “it had breached the conditions of its licence and it also lacks the financial and management capacity to continue operating as a commercial airline”. July 18: Mavcom introduces the Malaysia Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016, which is designed to protect consumer rights in Malaysia. The code, the first in Malaysia’s aviation industry, is adapted from international guidelines. Its director of consumer affairs Pushpalatha Subramaniam said under the code, consumer rights are clearly defined and protected. “These rights cover dealings with airlines, airports and other aviation service providers,” she told a media briefing. July 22: A new airline, Suasa Airlines (Bayu Air), operated flights from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi but its application to operate was rejected by Mavcom. July 25: Mavcom announced an investigation against Suasa Airlines Sdn Bhd which operated a flight to Langkawi on July 22 without the necessary licence and approval. Its application for an Air Service Permit (ASP) to carry out commercial flights was never approved by Mavcom.