KUALA LUMPUR: Low-cost airline AirAsia has launched a petition to protest against the RM23 additional passenger service charge (PSC) for those travelling beyond the Asean region.
The fee has been increased from RM50 to RM73 per passenger.
The petition had garnered some 27,000 signatures as at early this afternoon.
“We opposed this increase by not collecting the additional RM23 from consumers,” the airline stated in the petition.
AirAsia said klia2 was designed and operated as a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) and that passengers should not have to pay the same PSC as the “more well-equipped and luxurious” KLIA terminal.
The airline said a high PSC was an unfair burden on consumers.
“PSC has always been lower at klia2, up until 2018 when the rate was increased and equalised for reasons unknown.
“We believe that high PSC stifles tourism, hampers economic growth and makes Malaysia considerably less attractive to visitors compared to other destinations,” AirAsia said.
Charges paid by passengers at klia2 for flights to destinations outside of Asean have more than doubled since 2016.
Up to Dec 31, 2016, the charge was RM32 per person, but starting from Jan 1, 2017, it was increased to RM50 per person.
Effective July 1 last year, the airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), imposed a higher PSC of RM73 per person.
Despite the order, AirAsia has refused to collect the additional RM23 to ensure air travel remains affordable for all, saying it believed the hike was “unreasonable”.
However, because of a recent High Court ruling, the airline began to collect the increased PSC for bookings made from midnight last night under protest, with the differential amount clearly indicated in the itemised fare as “PSC (Under Protest)”.
In the petition, many expressed their disagreement over the increased PSC, saying it was unfair and too much to bear.
Daniel Mishary said working for a non-profit organisation required him to travel using cheap air fare flights. “When the administrative costs increase and automatically increase the air fare, it would not serve the purpose of having a low-cost flight anymore,” he said.
Wan Mohd Halimin Wan Ismail said there must be a reasonable explanation for the higher PSC “so that (the issue of) the higher charge aimed merely at making a profit does not arise”.
“Furthermore, many cost increases have been borne by consumers,” he said.
Another petitioner, Rosnizan Ismail, said the higher fee was a burden for those with many children.