AirAsia to appeal court ruling on passenger service charges

AirAsia says the passenger service charges are a burden to Malaysian travellers.

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd will appeal against the High Court’s decision to dismiss the striking out application by AirAsia Bhd and AirAsia X Bhd over the payment of RM40.6 million in outstanding passenger service charges (PSC) to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB).

Founders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun said the low-cost airline will apply for a stay of execution and challenge the actions of MASSB and its parent company, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

They said AirAsia maintains that the charges are a burden on all travelling Malaysians -until all avenues available under the law are exhausted.

“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 the passengers, especially Malaysian travellers, 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 in a statement.

Fernandes and Kamarudin noted that the monies being claimed against AirAsia by MAHB were to be collected from the passengers.

They said AirAsia did not collect the differential amount or withhold its payment to MAHB.

MAHB had imposed a new PSC of RM73 for passengers using klia2 to destinations out of Asean effective July 2018.

This amount, according to them, is RM23 higher than the previous rate of RM50 that AirAsia has continued to collect from passengers.

Since then, almost five million passengers have benefited from this lower PSC, they said.

“AirAsia has since the beginning opposed this increase in PSC, arguing that passengers using the inferior klia2 cannot be forced to pay the same charges as that of the better-equipped and more luxurious KLIA.

“On that principle, AirAsia has not collected the extra charges imposed by MAHB,” they said.

They said AirAsia has also requested that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), which is funded by the public through the RM1 regulatory service charge per travelling passenger, mediate as provided for under the Mavcom Act.

“Unfortunately, Mavcom has refused to intervene. We will continue to challenge Mavcom’s decision to not intervene, which clearly goes against the provisions of the Mavcom 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.