Thursday, December 21, 2017

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) policy clearly states that “in general, aircraft operators and other airport users, including end-users, should not be charged for facilities and services they do not use”

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has been quick to often cite the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) ‘principle of non-discriminatory pricing of passenger service charges’ when responding to criticisms against the equalisation of the fees between KLIA and KLIA2.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Passenger Service Charge (PSC) for international flights, excluding ASEAN, operating at KLIA2 would be increased from RM50 to RM73 per passenger. The move by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has drawn the ire of users of KLIA2, including the airport’s main airline AirAsia.  The PSC increase which comes into effect on January 1 2018, will likely lead to an increase in airfares for flights using the supposedly low-cost terminal.

However, MAHB is only being selective in using the above non-discriminatory principle as an excuse to raise the PSC for KLIA2.

If one were to refer to the ICAO’s Policies on Charges for Airports and Air Navigation Service (attached), MAHB conveniently forgets to mention that the same policy still allows for differential pricing systems.

ICAO specifically says that “in general, aircraft operators and other airport users, including end-users, should not be charged for facilities and services they do not use”.

Hence MAHB is clearly violating this guideline when it increases the PSC at KLIA2.

This is very simply because the facilities and services provided at KLIA2 are vastly inferior to KLIA.  And that in turn is because KLIA2 was never intended, designed or built as an extended “second permanent terminal for KLIA”.  KLIA2 was conceived and always intended as an international hub for low-cost carriers, and was built to cope with the growth of AirAsia as the region’s fastest growing low-cost airline.

Because of the massive cost overruns as a result from MAHB incompetence, as concluded by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), KLIA2 was relabelled as a ‘hybrid terminal’ in 2013.  Even so, that relabelling still confirmed that after its opening in 2013, KLIA2 was unique and distinct from KLIA.

Therefore the latest claim by MAHB that KLIA2 is merely a “second permanent terminal for KLIA” to justify the hike in PSC is wholly untenable.

Hence, we call upon both MAHB and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) to retract the decision to 46% hike the PSC charges at KLIA2 to equal that charged in KLIA.  ICAO clearly allows for fee differentiation between airports and terminals based on the availability and quality of services offered.

If MAHB and MAVCOM insist on hiking the fees at KLIA2, then they must prove how KLIA2 is an equal to KLIA to the angry Malaysians out there.  If they fail to do so, then it cannot be clearer that the entir fee hike exercise is to make more profits for MAHB, particularly since MAHB has taken billions of ringgit of debt to fund its RM4 billion KLIA2 misadventure.
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