AirAsia caves in, says will start collecting passenger service charges from Aug 9

AirAsia says it will start collecting RM73 Passenger Service Charge (PSC) starting August 9. ― AFP pic
AirAsia says it will start collecting RM73 Passenger Service Charge (PSC) starting August 9. ― AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 ― Budget carrier AirAsia announced today it will begin collection of the RM73 Passenger Service Charge (PSC) levied by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

The airline giant said it is doing so under protest, after losing its lawsuit against MAHB.

AirAsia said it will bill the additional RM23 as “PSC (Under Protest)”, to mark the difference to the RM50 it had collected previously.

“We will collect the full RM73 PSC but we do so under strong protest. Itemising the additional PSC will allow our 5.5 million guests departing from KLIA2 for non-Asean destinations annually to see how much they're paying for inferior facilities,” AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said in a statement.

“I believe many will agree with us that they’re not getting their money's worth, especially when compared to the far superior facilities at KLIA,” he added.

The PSC ― not to be confused with the government’s new departure lexy that will kick in September 1 ― is charged by MAHB on all exiting passengers for use of airport facilities and is collected by airlines such as AirAsia on behalf of the airport operator.

Effective July last year MAHB had imposed a new PSC of RM73 on passengers using klia2 to destinations beyond Asean ― the same rate as at the full-service terminal KLIA and RM23 higher than the previous rate of RM50.

AirAsia had refused to collect the additional RM23 from its guests and said it was to keep air travel fares affordable.

Sister company AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail also said that the long-haul airlines is forced to resort to the move.

“Believe me, we really don't want to be doing this, and we sympathise with our guests. PSC for passengers flying beyond Asean has more than doubled in less than two years from RM32 to RM73.

“This is an arbitrary hike and we will continue to oppose it until all our legal options are exhausted. However, we are forced to collect the additional RM23 as we cannot afford to continue subsidising our guests in the event our appeal falls through. We hope our guests will understand,” he said in a statement.