AirAsia to appeal High Court’s decision over RM40.6m PSC payment to Malaysia Airports

AirAsia planes are seen at klia2 in Sepang June 17, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
AirAsia planes are seen at klia2 in Sepang June 17, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Budget carrier AirAsia said today it will appeal against the High Court's ruling which mandated it pay RM40.6 million in outstanding Passenger Service Charges (PSC) to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB).

Both AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad were ordered by the High Court yesterday to pay MASSB at least RM40.6 million owed in PSC arrears.

In a press statement today, AirAsia founders Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said they believed the court has erred and will file an appeal on the decision although it did not disclose when.

“AirAsia will apply for a stay of execution and challenge MASSB’s and its parent Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB’s) actions — which we maintain are a burden on all traveling Malaysians — until we exhaust all avenues available under the law.

“We would like to reiterate that these legal challenges are not simply a matter between AirAsia and MAHB. In the event we lose in the highest courts of appeal, it is passengers, especially Malaysian travelers, who will have to pay the differential MAHB is charging.

“We believe that the people of Malaysia should have the right to a fair deal,” they said jointly.

MAHB had imposed a new PSC of RM73 for passengers using klia2 to destinations out of Asean effective July 2018. This amount is RM23 higher than the previous rate of RM50 that AirAsia has continued to collect from passengers.

AirAsia X Berhad CEO Benyamin Ismail argued that the hike puts the cost of travelling from klia2 on the same footing as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

He said MAHB had painted an “inaccurate picture” to the Malaysian public when they suggested that klia2 and KLIA are on par in terms of quality and service.

“Anyone who has used both terminals knows that this is an untruth and an attempt to justify higher earnings for MAHB, whose profits have been growing considerably because of such arbitrary decisions,” said Benyamin.

The statement claimed that nearly five million of its passengers have “benefited” from AirAsia’s lower PSC.

Fernandez and Kamaruddin also complained that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) had refused to intervene, and claim by its inaction, the body, which is funded by an RM1 regulatory service charge per travelling passenger, had gone against the provisions of its own Act.

“The failure of Mavcom to intervene and mediate is also causing a further and bigger division in this industry, which leads to a big drop in tourist arrivals and causes greater damage to the nation’s economy,” they said.

The budget carrier will continue asking Mavcom to intervene in this matter.

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