PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Bhd will appeal to the government to remove any increase in passenger service charge (PSC) rates, despite confirmation from the Transport Ministry last Friday. The airline said in a statement last Friday that it is confident the government and Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) will put the nation’s long-term interests, the rakyat and their jobs, first. “We hope that our fears and concerns of our guests are unfounded, but if it turns out to be true, we will, on behalf of our guests and the people, submit appeals to the government of Malaysia to remove such increase in the tax,” AirAsia CEO Aireen Omar said. “This increase in tax will be a direct burden to be shouldered by the people, making air travel more expensive and reducing overall demand for services offered by all airlines operating in Malaysia, crimping tourism, threatening jobs and hurting the economy. Malaysia will also lose its competitiveness as a regional low-cost hub,” she added. AirAsia noted that the government has acknowledged the distinctions between low-cost carriers and full-service carriers, which would be a factor in considering the applicable PSC. “The facilities at klia2 are far inferior than those in KLIA as there is no aerotrain, there is a lack of walkalators, long walking distances, smaller gates with poor boarding efficiency, just to name a few. The differences between the two terminals alone are obvious reasons why the PSC should not be the same,” she said. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines welcomes the confirmation by the Transport Ministry and the equal PSC rates at KLIA. “Some 51 airlines, The International Air Transport Association and the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines have all requested equal charges between the old terminal and the super new facility at klia2,” it said in a statement. It also highlighted the need to attract new international airlines and air services to boost tourism and equality, which is crucial to airport growth. “Equal charges will allow the airport to invest in vital repair and upgrades of the 18-year-old KLIA terminal to match the super new facilities available at klia2.” Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai confirmed the hike last Friday, saying that the new rates will be implemented from Jan 1 next year. Details are to be announced by Mavcom. The new PSC rates are expected to be RM11 for domestic flights, RM35 for flights to Asean countries, and RM73 for international flights out of both KLIA and klia2. The current rates are RM9 for domestic flights and RM32 for flights to Asean countries while international flights out of KLIA and klia2 are RM65 and RM32 respectively.