Civil aviation regulator hikes up airline fees by 1,000%


PETALING JAYA: Aviation authorities are set to increase all air travel-related fees by 1,000% for all airlines operating out of Malaysia next week.

The new hike, taking effect from April 15, will see big aircraft being affected the most as the bigger the aircraft, the higher will be the costs.

Cargo planes, helicopters and smaller aircraft are not spared as well.

An airline executive however told StarBiz “the rise was too drastic and too fast” and would force airlines to pass on the buck to passengers.

Airlines’ profits, too, is expected to take a dip, said the unnamed executive.

Local airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air would be hurt the most by the fare hike, as they have hundreds of domestic flights per week, the executive said.

“If an airline is paying RM120,000 a month now in air navigation flight charges (ANFC), its bill will rise by RM1.2 million a month, depending on aircraft type and frequency.”

The executive also gave an example of the popular Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu route, which costs RM160 to RM176 in ANFC fees that would now cost RM1,600 to RM1,760.

In a briefing by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to airlines, it was revealed that ANFC fees will go up from 5 sen/nautical mile to 50 sen for light aircraft. For bigger aircraft, it will increase from 10 to 25 sen/nautical mile to RM1 to RM2.50.

Bigger planes such as the A380 will have to pay RM3/nautical mile from 30 sen/nautical mile.

Yearly Air Operating Certificates have also been raised from between RM30,000-RM80,000, compared with only RM400 previously.

Pilots, too, are not left out, with their initial flight licence bumped up to RM500 (initial licence) and RM300 for yearly renewal. Previously, pilots paid RM100 and RM60 respectively.

DCA Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told StarBiz the hike was inevitable to cope with upgrades and maintenance costs.

He said the fees had not been hiked up for the past 40 years. With the new revision, it would still be the lowest in the region.

Azharuddin said the DCA had spent RM1.41 billion for an air traffic management system and RM650 million for a new Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre (ATCC), scheduled to be opened by 2019.

He said also in the pipeline was a Kota Kinabalu ATCC upgrade, among others, which would cost another RM550 million.

“Yearly, we are spending about RM125 million just on maintenance, and that is why we need to raise our rates.

“We are essentially building a new ATCC for the benefit of the airlines,” he was quoted as saying.