AirAsia refuses to collect additional charge from passengers

AirAsia group in response to the Writ of Summons served by Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB) said today the airline is not obligated to collect airport tax for MASSB and refused to collect the additional charge from passengers on behalf of MASSB.

AirAsia Bhd (AAB) Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat in a statement today said passengers using klia2 should not be charged the same rate as passengers using the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), claiming that klia2 is a low-cost terminal with far lower levels of service provided to passengers compared to KLIA, which is a full-service terminal.

“AirAsia has previously lodged a number of official complaints regarding the substandard infrastructure and access at klia2 which has negatively impacted our operational performance and punctuality,” he said.

These included unsatisfactory state of infrastructure at klia2, apron defects, ground depression, flooding, ruptured fuel pipelines, ad hoc runway closures due to continuous resurfacing requirements, closure of departure gates and damage to aircraft, he said.

Stating that airlines typically collect the passenger service charge (PSC) or better know as airport tax on behalf of airport operators as part of the air fare, Riad said AirAsia had been collecting, on behalf of MASSB, RM50 airport tax from every non-ASEAN international passenger departing from klia2 since Jan 1, 2017.

To date, he said AirAsia had paid a total of  RM663,051,008.52 in airport tax to MASSB.

According to Riad, on Feb 1 this year, MASSB had increased the airport tax charged on non-ASEAN international passengers departing from klia2 to RM73.

“Raising non-ASEAN international passengers airport tax to RM73 from RM50 effectively equalised PSC between klia2 and KLIA.

“AirAsia is not obligated to collect airport tax for MASSB, and we have refused to collect the additional charge from passengers on behalf of MASSB,” he said.

MASSB is claiming RM36.1 million in arrears for uncollected PSCs from AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) and AAB. MASSB had served two Writ of Summons for RM26.71 million and RM9.39 million to AAX and AAB for uncollected PSCs at klia2, respectively.

Riad said from AirAsia’s calculations, these cross-claims far exceeded the amount of airport tax that the airline had refused to collect for MASSB from its passengers.

“We have tried, on various occasions, and without success, to engage MASSB on these issues. Regrettably, MASSB has instead decided to take the matter public and instigate legal action based on claims that AirAsia will strongly refute,” he said.

– BERNAMA / TMR file pix