AirAsia has started collecting an additional RM23 in passenger service charge (PSC) levied by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad. However, the airline highlighted that the differential amount would be clearly indicated in the itemised fare as "PSC (Under Protest)".
In a statement issued on its website, AirAsia said that the airline is forced to collect the increased klia2 PSC levied by MAHB following a recent court ruling.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed AirAsia and AirAsia X's striking-out application in relation to the payment for outstanding PSC to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB), a subsidiary of MAHB, the low-cost airline added in the statement.
The PSC is airport tax charged by MAHB on all departing passengers for use of airport facilities and is collected by airlines such as AirAsia on behalf of the airport operator.
Previously, the airline collected RM50 PSC
"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 - effective July 2018.
"This is higher than the previous rate of RM50, and AirAsia had refused to collect the additional RM23 from its guests to ensure air travel remains affordable for all," it said.
Both AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail expressed their concern. They emphasised that the airline does not want to collect the additional RM23 PSC.
"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.
"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," Riad Asmat said.
"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," Benyamin said in the statement.
"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," he added.
Meanwhile, the government's new departure levy ― which is separate from the PSC ― kicks in from 1 September: