Speed up reform of airport charges, says Asian aviation group

Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd operates 39 airports in Malaysia, including KLIA. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: An Asia-Pacific aviation group has urged Malaysia to finalise reforms of the regulatory framework for levying airport charges in order to support airport operators as they undertake “significant infrastructure investments” in the coming years.

The Asia-Pacific chapter of Airports Council International said reforms were needed urgently.

Patti Chau, regional director, of the organisation, which represents the region’s airports, said: “What is needed is a stable, consistent and proportionate economic oversight framework which facilitates timely investment in airport capacity.”

The statement said airport operators had taken over the risk of capital investment from the government.

The organisation upheld the transparent process of consultations being carried out by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), and said some critical features should be included in Malaysia’s new regulatory framework to meet the needs of the country and the industry.

“The competitiveness of airports should be measured not only in terms of level of charges, but also in terms of quality of customer service. Any charging scheme should ensure recovery of all costs at the airport network level while providing for long-term economic sustainability within the network.

Airport charges include landing fees, parking fees and passenger service charges.

Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad manages and operates 39 airports in Malaysia: five international, 16 domestic and 18 short take-off and landing ports.

Mavcom has said that it would set out different levels of charges at airports, depending on the size, level of facilities and services available.

The new framework for charges would free the government from subsidising airport operations as currently practised.

The new rates will be introduced in January, Mavcom has said.

Mavcom and airlines in Malaysia were recently involved in a dispute over different levels of passenger service charges levied on passengers travelling abroad from domestic airports.