May 20, 2007

Lower airport tax at LCCTs

KOTA KINABALU: Air travellers using budget carriers such as AirAsia are in for some good news. The airport tax for passengers using low-cost carrier terminals (LCCTs) will be reduced very soon.

“Just be patient,” said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choi, when pressed for details yesterday.

Met by reporters after the Tunku Abdul Rahman College convocation, the MCA deputy president who is on a three-day visit to Sabah declined to reveal details of the quantum of reduction.

AirAsia chief executive Datuk Tony Fernandes has been urging the Government to cut airport taxes for passengers using the LCCTs in Kuala Lumpur and here.

Fernandes had argued that it was only appropriate for travellers using the LCCTs to pay less airport tax as the facilities there were not as sophisticated as those at the main terminals. A lower airport tax at the LCCTs would also help spur domestic tourism, he said.

Meanwhile, Chan said Malaysia Airlines might be setting up another subsidiary to operate rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said a decision on the matter would be made in just over a week following on-going meetings between officials of the ministry, MAS and Fly Asia Express (FAX) which is currently operating the services in both states.

“The service need not be operated by Firefly,” Chan said, referring to MAS’ subsidiary that is operating turbo-prop services from Penang to northern peninsula destinations.

He said the transition of the rural air services from FAX to the MAS subsidiary would be gradual to avoid or minimise disruptions.

On complaints about the frequent delays or cancellations of FAX flights in Sabah, Chan said that his ministry was aware that two of FAX’s fleet of aircraft, that included Fokker 50 and Twin Otters, were grounded.


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