The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) is scheduled to officially publish the new rates of the passenger service charge (PSC) and regulatory asset base (RAB) framework by October this year. NST file pix.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) is scheduled to officially publish the new rates of the passenger service charge (PSC) and regulatory asset base (RAB) framework by October.

MAVCOM chief operating officer Azmir Zain said the new PSC rate would be effective at all airports nationwide from January 2020 next year.

He said it was premature for MAVCOM to disclose the new rates, but it was hopeful to keep the charges including PSC, aircraft landing and parking fees relatively “affordable”.

“The request (timeframe) has been made to us by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) earlier this year. This is to tie-up the readiness of MAHB based on the negotiation involving the new operating agreement (OA),” he told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.

The PSC charges are currently at RM35 and RM73 for outbound travellers to Asean and other international destinations respectively.

“We feel it is worth investing the time to ensure what we have developed a set of rates that can be relied on over the long term,” he said.

Azmir added that MAVCOM had been engaging with MAHB and industry stakeholders at various levels in the last two years.

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook previously said the government was looking at reducing the PSC to make air travel more affordable for Malaysians.

Azmir said MAVCOM was also in the midst of introducing the RAB framework to keep operating cost in check.

“So there will be no (cost) escalation. However, the payable quantum is still being negotiated,” he said.

Recently, the government extended the OA contract with MAHB, allowing the latter to undertake airports development or upgrade, following the RAB model to recoup its capital expenditure.

Azmir said once the RAB framework was implemented, the government would not fork out any capital expenditure for airports development works.

Under the previous OA, MAHB had been paying between RM300 million and RM400 million or about 11.8 per cent user fee to the government annually.

Some research houses such as MIDF Research view the proposed framework as positive as it will make aeronautical charges more transparent and airport operators more accountable.

It would also ensure MAHB will get remunerated for the development of its assets, MIDF Research said.

The RAB framework would provide a direct link between capital investment and the level of charges, Azmir said.

Elaborating on the aeronautical charges, he said MAVCOM was expected to announce its next consultation paper on the matter in June while completing the work by the third-quarter this year.

“We don’t confine our consultation to only speaking to industry players but we also engage with the government via the Ministry of Transport closely as well as private stakeholders right up to the end of this evaluation,” he said.

MAVCOM previously indicated that it would want to move away from the current regime of uniform charges to the differentiated rates in accordance to service level and standards of infrastructure at the airports.

“We want to set intuitive charges for consumers so they can better relate to and understand in relative to the services which they receive at the airports.

“We reckon that service level at different airports are not exactly uniform across all airports in Malaysia. Hence, we want to move to differentiated regime rates,” he said.

On whether the new PSC charges would be the same for Terminal 1 and 2 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, he said: “klia2 is more sophisticated airport than airports in Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Bintulu or Miri.

“Therefore, we needed to equalise PSC rates across airports in Malaysia with our consultation paper issued in 2017.

PSC also include aircraft landing and parking fees at the airports.

“The new rates would be internationally accepted and recognised where charges would correspond with the quality of infrastructure and level of services at the airports.

“Regionally, the current PSC still among the lowest in the region, including aircraft parking and landing charges,” Azmir said.