PUTRAJAYA, April 12 – Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said airfares should not be increased when the new service charge on airline companies is implemented on April 15. This is because the increase in the charges only involved administration and implementation cost of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and not airfares, he said.
“The new aviation fees, which have not been reviewed for over 40 years, also would not burden airline companies I don’t think this will increase airfares as the rate (of increase) is not too high,” he said when asked about the impact of the new fees implementation on airfares after attending the ministry’s Excellence Service Award 2015 ceremony here, Tuesday.
The proposed increase in aviation fees and service charges include usage of airspace, air traffic facilities as well as pilot’s flight licence. Under the proposal, air navigation flight charges (ANFC) will increase from the current five sen per nautical mile to 50 sen for light aircraft not exceeding 2,500kg.
For bigger aircraft such as Airbus A320/A330 and Boeing B737/B777, the cost will rise to RM1-RM2.50 per nautical mile compared with 10-25 sen currently, while for planes exceeding 135,000kg, the rate will increase from 30 sen to RM3 per nautical mile.
“The new fees implementation was to provide the best air transport system for the country, besides offering good services to consumers. Some people say prices will go up to 1,000 per cent. Before it is five sen, now it is expected to go up 50 sen. But if we look in terms of value, we are providing better services and assets and air control equipment are more sophisticated,” Liow said.
Liow said a meeting with airline operators will be held today to get their feedback and grievances before an official announcement is made tomorrow. Asked whether there were hidden charges, Liow said: “We are very transparent as the DCA has issued a list on what are being charged and what are not.”
He also explained that the new charges needed to be implemented to comply with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in order to transform the DCA into a statutory body. He said it was a process that the DCA had to go through to ensure the assets and services complied with ICAO standards before being certified as a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
He also said that in line with the request from ICAO, several charges and new fees must be imposed to show that the government’s commitment to upgrade DCA to CAA. In the meanwhile, he also added that ICAO would carry out an audit on the DCA this May.