By IZZAT RATNA / Pic By HUSSEIN SHARUDDIN
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is pushing for usage of newly launched electronic billing to ensure all local and international carriers pay their passenger service charge (PSC) on time.
“On a month-to-month basis, MAHB issues out about 400 invoices to all carriers that operate in the country. The e-billing portal, which was introduced two weeks ago would definitely make the processes more efficient,” MD Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said in a media briefing in Sepang last Friday.
He said this in response to issues regarding Malindo Airways’ outstanding arrears worth RM70 million owed to MAHB.
Badlisham said all carriers need to service their PSC on time, as it is a mandatory regulation to operate their fleets in Malaysia.
“Any failure to do so would result in licence revocation or flight suspensions,” he said.
The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) reported that Malindo Airways has made an initial payment of RM20 million of the outstanding RM70 million arrears.
The hybrid carrier made headlines following claims that it had accumulated RM70 million in unpaid PSC arrears to the airport operator and certain quarters wanted the authority to take action on the carrier that is majority-owned by CEO Chandran Rama Muthy.
Commenting on this issue, Badlisham said all items are being handled between Malindo and the MAHB board directors before any decision can be taken.
“I am unable to divulge any further information on this, but I do hope that this issue would be resolved soon,” he said.
Badlisham also clarified that the RM70 million arrears are an overdue payment, and not exactly debt.
“It is expected that Malindo is going through some growing pains, which include launching of new destinations and frequencies, and dealing with the volume of passengers that they are experiencing,” Badlisham added.
He, however, said that the airport operator will not hesitate to take action against air- lines who do not adhere to regulations, such as not paying the PSC.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi had confirmed that Malindo had made the RM20 million payment last week.
He said the carrier, owned by Indonesia’s PT Lion Group, was taking the necessary steps to repay the outstanding PSC on a monthly basis.
“The airline has taken steps to settle the outstanding amount. Firstly, they have paid the RM20 million,” he told TMR.
“Anyway, it is a matter between the airline and the airport operator (to resolve),” Abdul Aziz said, adding that such outstanding payment is not unusual in the local aviation industry.
MAHB said the standard operating procedure for the PSC collection is to extend a 30-day credit term facility to all partner airlines.
“Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for airlines to exceed this period. As such, we are continuously monitoring the late payments and are engaging closely with the air- lines to resolve these late payment issues.
“This may include identifying and resolving any arising matters with regard to payment details,” MAHB said in a statement.
Malindo Air commenced operations on March 22, 2013, and currently makes over 800 weekly flights to 40 cities in 12 countries in the Indian subcontinent, South India, Asean, China and Australia.