KUALA LUMPUR – Flights from KL International Airport (KLIA) may become cheaper, while those from klia2 could increase slightly with a new passenger service charge (PSC) revision, beginning next year.
The revision of the PSC rates, which passengers pay for in their flight tickets, could mean cheaper flights to ASEAN destinations from KLIA, though domestic and ASEAN flights from klia2 may be slightly more expensive. Domestic flight fares from both airports may also increase with the revision.
The rates will come into effect on Jan 1.
In a statement, Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) said the revisions would help the airports increase their efficiency and equalise competition between airlines in KLIA, which include Malaysia Airlines, and klia2, whose main tenant is AirAsia.
It said the rate increase in klia2 was because AirAsia had enjoyed the same PSC since the Low Cost Carrier Terminal days despite enjoying better facilities at the new airport.
“The Commission is of the view that a continuation of lower PSC rates at klia2 could provide an unfair pricing advantage for carriers operating out of the airport,” it said.
PSC rates in other Malaysian airports will be slashed to RM35 (S$11.60) for ASEAN flights, while domestic and international charges will be increased to RM11 and RM73 respectively.
The statement said the rate was still one of the lowest in the world.
Malaysia Airlines was happy with the new PSC, announcing a sale for ASEAN destinations starting tomorrow.
“It is important for the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines that we fight for every dollar and cent savings where possible,” said the airline’s group chief executive Peter Bellew.
“There is much work to be done, but this news creates an opportunity for us to compete on a level playing pitch in Malaysia.”
But AirAsia disagreed that the facilities at klia2 was on par with KLIA, saying its customers should be given the same level of user experience if the topic of equal competition was to be discussed.
Though it welcomed the ASEAN PSC, the airline voiced concerns that air travel should remain affordable if Malaysia wanted to keep its high tourist volume.
“Any increase in PSC must be gradual only after stabilising tourist arrivals. The ASEAN Secretariat has recorded Malaysia as the only country that saw a drop of 6.2 per cent in international visitor arrivals in 2014 and 2015 compared to other ASEAN countries,” AirAsia said in a statement.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Asia Pacific’s corporate communications assistant director Albert Tjeong called the revisions a “half step forward” and said Mavcom should be given autonomy so it could regulate the industry independently.
Malaysia Aiports Bhd said it welcomed the move as the first step towards the equalisation of PSC for all airports and terminals in line with global practice.