Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia has officially stated its refusal to collect extra airport tax from its customers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2), an airport catering solely to budget airlines.
In a statement issued on Friday (Dec 14), AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said that the company was “not obligated” to collect airport tax for Malaysia Airports.
A tax hike in February this year resulted in an increase of RM23 in airport tax at KLIA2.
AirAsia has refused to collect the additional charge.
Riad said that the airline had already been collecting on behalf of Malaysia Airports RM50 (US$12) from non-Asean passengers, and has collected a total of over RM478 million since Jan 2017.
He added that the increase to RM73 per passenger was unjustified because “KLIA2 is a low-cost terminal with far lower levels of service provided to passengers, compared to KLIA, which is a full-service terminal”.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia’s main international airport, charges RM73 in tax per passenger.
Riad also revealed that AirAsia had previously lodged a number of official complaints regarding the “substandard infrastructure and access at KLIA2 which has negatively impacted our operational performance and punctuality”.
The complaints made include: Unsatisfactory state of infrastructure at KLIA2; apron defects; ground depression; flooding; ruptured fuel pipelines; ad hoc runway closures due to continuous resurfacing requirements; closure of departure gates; and damage to aircraft.
“From our calculations, these cross-claims far exceed the amount of airport tax that we have refused to collect for MASSB from our passengers,” Riad said.
He also said that AirAsia has tried to engage Malaysia Airports on these issues to no avail.
“Regrettably, (Malaysia Airports) has instead decided to take the matter public and instigate legal action based on claims that AirAsia will strongly refute,” he said.
On Dec 11, Malaysia Airports issued a writ of summons to AirAsia X Berhad and AirAsia Group Berhad for MYR9.4 million in claimed passenger service charges, flight global reported.