01 December 2009
KUALA LUMPUR— The transport ministry today confirmed that the low cost carrier AirAsia had paid a sum of RM111 million to Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) for airport tax arrears.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri told the Dewan Rakyat AirAsia owed the MAHB some RM132 million but the airline was given a discount for its efforts in encouraging tourist arrivals in the country.
He was responding to a question by Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong who had questioned why the airline was given a special privilege to owe airport tax.
The PKR man added that any incentive should be channeled to the people and not to AirAsia.
“They sold the ticket months in advance, I have nothing against this business model, but I am just worried that AirAsia is allowed to delay airport tax payment,” said Wee.
Early this year, the House was told that AirAsia owed MAHB RM65 million.
Last June, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the House that the airline was in negotiations with MAHB to resolve the airport tax issue.
Najib had said that MAHB did not take any drastic action to claim the arrears owed by AirAsia because it would only adversely affect the operation of the low-cost carrier terminal.
He added that it would also give a negative impact to MAHB as the operator and manager of airports.
AirAsia has also been pushing for reduction in airport tax at the low cost carrier terminal due to the limited facilities.
By Adib Zalkapli
The Malaysian Insider