MAHB says it does not set, fix or control passenger service charges (PSC)

03 Feb 2019 / 11:54 H.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) said that it does not set, fix or control passenger service charges (PSC), in response to civil suits between its subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd and AirAsia over hundreds of millions of ringgit in outstanding PSC.

The airport operator said PSC partially covers the operating, improvement and maintenance of its 39 airports around the country, including 18 smaller airports in rural areas where PSC is not imposed.

“In its common practice in the aviation industry, PSC is supposed to be collected by airlines from departing passengers upon purchase of their flight tickets. The money is later to be paid to MAHB.

“In fact, the PSC rates in Malaysia is among the lowest in the region and globally, even after Mavcom (Malaysian Aviation Commission) standardised PSC for non-Asean international flights to RM73,“ MAHB said in a statement today.

Mavcom had said the standardisation was aimed at moving towards a more internationally accepted cost-based mechanism for charging PSCs, to reduce subsidies at low-cost terminal klia2 and provide facilities to air travellers.

“In fact, when we benchmark Malaysia’s charging models with other airports regionally, it can be seen that airports charge the same PSC rates for all its terminals regardless of operating airlines,“ the statement further read.

It added that Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports charged the same PSC although each provides full and low-cost services, respectively.

MAHB then pointed out on the Conditions of Use 2017 (CoU), which documents terms and conditions on the use of airports as agreed with airlines using KLIA and klia2.

It said under the CoU, MAHB may close part of the airport, interrupt, suspend or stop airport services and facilities for repair, maintenance or upgrading works if prior notice is given and mitigation measures are taken.

“In the event of such a situation, we will not be liable for any loss or damages,“ it said.

MAHB said it was confident its differences with AirAsia would be resolved.

“It is in the best interest of our shareholders for MAHB to recover through proper means the loss of an average of about RM7 million per month due to AirAsia charging a lower amount than the gazetted rate.”

It was previously reported that AirAsia is only collecting RM50 PSC instead of the gazetted RM73.

On Thursday, AirAsia announced it had initiated mediation efforts for its claim from the country’s airport operator for close to RM480 million in alleged losses from purportedly poor conditions at the low-cost terminal klia2.

It said it served notice for the commencement of mediation on MAHB wholly-owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB).

It listed out flight cancellations and resulting loss of revenue from multiple runway closures, apron defects, damage to two aircraft due to malfunctions in MASSB’s infrastructure and sensors, a fuel line rupture at Pier P of the klia2, internet outages and loss of customers.

The low-cost carrier is seeking mediation in line with the Mavcom Act 2015’s Section 74, which requires disputes to first be resolved through mediation.

Under the law, Mavcom will arbitrate the dispute if mediation fails.

The airline said they hoped to settle the issue amicably and had refrained from filing a counterclaim in court in order to pursue mediation first, as required by the Mavcom Act.

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