01 December 2009
KUALA LUMPUR-- Budget airline, AirAsia, was never given preferential rights to owe RM65 million airport tax but instead the low-cost carrier and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) have contrasting figures in the amount to be paid, the Dewan Rakyat was told on Tuesday.
However, as of September 2009, the airline had settled all its debts to MAHB totalling RM112.06 million, said Feputy Minister of Transport Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri when replying to Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju) during question time.
Wee asked Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat why AirAsia was given preferential treatment to owe RM65 million airport tax paid by air travellers as of Feb 28, 2009.
He also wanted to know what action MAHB, Low Cost Carrier Terminal operator, took against AirAsia to recover the debt and what was the debt amount todate.
Abdul Rahim said the MAHB had given RM25 million discount to the airline from the actual debt amount.
While offering such incentives was a normal practice in the airline industry, the MAHB saw the incentive as a "win-win" situation as AirAsia had flew in large number of foreign tourists to the country, he said.
Responding to a supplementary question on AirAsia indulging in "deposit-taking", Abdul Rahim said other sectors, including the hotel industry, was doing the same thing.
On Open Sky Policy, the deputy minister said Malaysia is to sign Open Sky Policy agreements with several countries, specifically with Asean member states, soon.
The policy would be a boon to the tourism industy, he added.