"That is a fight for another day." - Tony Fernandes, Air Asia co-founder, on the airport departure levy that passengers using KLIA may have to pay. (AirAsia celebrates Merdeka with lowered PSC)
KL, Sept 2: Some of us were happy to vilify Tony F over Air Asia's stubbornness in not wanting to collect from its outbound passengers the RM73 passenger service charge that it was supposed to. It was supposed to because Mavcom, the country's regulator, said so. The money collected is meant wholly for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the already-profitable airport operator. Air Asia argued that because it was a low-cost carrier and also because its passengers were using inferior facilities at KLIA2 (compared with the facilities at the main terminal KLIA), they shouldn't be made to pay the same amount passengers or other airlines at KLIA were paying. So Air Asia started collecting only RM50 from its passengers instead of RM73. The jaws of some of us, including bloggers, dropped to the floor, and we exclaimed: "Who the duck does he think he is?!" And so we lambasted him. Tony's new CEO Riad Asmat decided to join the fight for lower PSC for his pax and was quickly taken to court to shut him up (MAHB suit against Air Asia over defamatory statements to be heard this Friday/Sept 6).
But then you can't shut up the Old Man, can you? Can't sue him, either, for stating the obvious:
".. Obviously, if they (airlines) are charging passengers low fare and the Government charges such passengers the same exit tax with those in high-end flights, it is not fair." - Dr M: Government may review departure levy, Aug 16
Now that it's done, quite obviously some of us owe Tony Fernandes an apology for unfairly judging him when he was championing that cause for fairness. Also, perhaps MAHB may want to drop the lawsuits against AA - what purpose will they serve now, really? And, after the PSC, maybe we will all be more circumspect and start making the right noise about other unreasonable, unfair tax regimes. We can start with that other tax against passengers, the airport departure levy. The one Tony said he may fight another day.
Read also, my two previous articles on the levy:
Now, can everyone still fly? - July 22
Countdown to a potentially ill-fated VMY2020 Part ll, July 23
Mavcom: New PSC rates in Jan 2020 will be more equitable - Aug 12