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09
Oct

Air Asia seeks waiver of terminal fees, travel tax

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By Louella Desiderio | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Philippines AirAsia Inc. is asking the government to waive the terminal fees as well as travel tax for airports in Clark, Davao, Panglao and Puerto Princesa for three to five years to help stir up outbound travel.

Philippines AirAsia chief executive officer Dexter Comendador told reporters the low-cost carrier has asked the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to waive airport fees for three to five years for the four airports.

He said the carrier has also proposed to the Department of Tourism to waive the P1,620 travel tax for five years for the four airports.

The carrier is pushing for the two proposals to encourage more tourists to visit the country.

“I have to stir up domestic tourists to get out. One way is to remove the P1,620 (travel tax) and airport fees,” he said.

Based on a study conducted by the carrier, he said the removal of travel tax and airport fees for five years would result in revenue losses amounting to roughly P4 billion.

While there would be losses, he said the government would gain P299 billion in terms of revenue from tourists.

Last month, the carrier gave copies of the study to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Comendador said while the officials see the merit of the proposals, pushing for them would mean changes in the law covering the collection of such fees.

“That is why we asked Sen. Drilon to help us on this,” he said.

The carrier has also asked the government to reconsider a plan to impose a cap on domestic fares.

“The imposition of a floor and ceiling rate on domestic fares may unnaturally skew average domestic fares to higher levels while fares for international flights will remain as is. This may paint an unfavorable picture of the domestic aviation industry and affect domestic tourism as passengers will opt to travel internationally where fares are lower,” Philippines AirAsia legal manager Julius Polinga said in a letter submitted to Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla.