Mavcom pledges SLA for airports, airline services

Chairman says will study the matter after it concludes a holistic revision of the PSC rates

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has pledged to introduce a service level agreement (SLA) policy between airport operators and airline service providers to ensure the continuous growth and sustainability of the aviation industry.

Newly-appointed executive chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi (picture) said such a policy — which was not in place before — will be part of the new regime’s plan, after he took over Mavcom’s top post last Friday.

He said the commission has acknowledged the need after considering complaints made by airline companies which had asked for the policy, in order to deliver a fairer treatment between the parties, while following similar practices that are in place worldwide.

He said the commission will study the matter after it concludes a holistic revision of the controversial passenger service charges (PSC) rates that re affecting all airports in the country.

As of January 2018, Mavcom had equalised all PSC rates at Malaysia airports — which are RM11 (domestic), RM35 (Asean countries) and RM73 (international flights beyond Asean countries).

Prior to that, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) was granted to collect a lower PSC fee, or previously known as airport tax, at only RM50.

“Now we have equalised the PSC for all airports as an interim step. On the next step, we are working on a model that would enable us to determine the operating cost of running the assets, and with those assets, what kind of the service level they can give to the airlines.

“Then maybe, we can decide if we could introduce clusters of airport service charges or service charges of individual airports,” he told reporters in Putrajaya last Friday.

He added that it is not viable or fair for all airports, which have different levels of facilities and service levels to be pegged with the same fee rates.

He said Mavcom also needs to consider the government’s interests before making the decision, as the airport assets belong to the government.

“Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is under an operating agreement to manage the facilities and they are also making some margin.

“As such, you cannot unilaterally determine the charges without taking into account the operating agreement,” he said, adding that Mavcom would study some SLA models which have been established in European countries and India to formulate the policy to suit the Malaysian industry.

Nungsari could not provide any timeline to conclude the matter, albeit being pressured by the Transport Ministry to end the saga soonest possible.

“We are now at the transition stage from the previous regime to where we are now and we will go to that phase (of SLA establishment),” he said.

Early this month, AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun claimed that despite KLIA2 being in operation for more than four years, the company has yet to be provided with any SLA in the agreement with airport operator MAHB.

Kamarudin said the matter has caused them to institute an administrative fee at KLIA2 — or deemed as “hidden charges” by certain quarters.

According to AirAsia’s website, passengers who fly from KLIA2 will have to bear a RM3 additional charge, named as the KLIA2 fee.

Kamarudin said the company has been bearing unnecessary costs due to “bad airport facilities” and he has no other options but to swallow it, as most of the airports in the country are monopolised by MAHB.

“We have issues like potholes and closure of runways. Do you know how much it costs us, how much increase in maintenance because of the lending and parking?

“Other things are like the changing of tyres and the braking systems due to the conditions that we are operating in — which are not conducive,” he told the media at the launch of the AirAsia-Alisports Asean World Electronic Sports Games co-sponsorship in Sepang earlier this month.

As a result, Kamarudin said AirAsia’s operating cost had gone up and the complaints lodged to the operator were not entertained, hence the demand for an SLA policy to be implemented.

He also said the company is willing to scrap the additional charges with a condition that some parties need to be accountable for the incurred charges.

“We are only asking for fairness and equitability,” said Kamarudin.