Airport departure fees to rise by Bt100, AOT board decides

Economy October 25, 2013 00:00

By Nongnapas Maipanich,

Bamrun

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Airports of Thailand has resolved to raise passenger departure fees from the current Bt100 to Bt200 for domestic flights and from Bt700 to Bt800 for international flights, effective in mid-2014.



AOT chairman Sita Divari said the agency was announcing this now to give passengers plenty of advance notice.

The agency’s board also approved the appointment of Makin Petplai, who had a secure and well-paid job as senior vice president of Thaicom, as AOT’s president, effective next month.

Executives in the tourism industry said they had no objection to the raising of the airport departure fees by Bt100, but wondered how the additional income would be used to improve facilities and service.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said he did not mind such a fee increase because it would have little impact on tourism. However, he wanted to know whether the higher fees would benefit airport users through higher standards and better service, something foreign tourists have complained about to association members.

Yutthachai Soonthronrattanavate, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, had similar doubts.

Sita said raising the passenger service charge (PSC) was necessary as the actual costs involved had risen to Bt336 per domestic passenger, Bt236 higher than the revenue per head collected. AOT has been absorbing this cost differential for some time.

The higher departure fee will be applicable at all six AOT-operated airports (Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Hat Yai) after receiving approval from the Department of Civil Aviation and after passengers have been notified six months in advance, which should be by mid-2014, he said.

AOT expects to earn revenue from airport-related fees this year of about Bt16 billion. The higher departure passenger service charge (PSC) should boost annual revenue by Bt3.8 billion (Bt1.4 billion from domestic flights and Bt2.4 billion from international flights). The profit earned from the international-flights PSC will compensate for the loss incurred on the fee for domestic flights.

In another development, AOT hopes to be able to provide passengers with insurance against flight delays of over three hours regardless of reason. Passengers of delayed flights would be entitled to a prompt cash refund or a new ticket.

The insurance company AOT is negotiating with has proposed coverage for flight delays of five hours and up. This programme is expected to be launched at the same time as the increased PSCs planned for mid-2014.

With higher revenue this year from a rise in passenger volume, foreign-exchange gains (from a yen-denominated loan swap of about Bt3 billion) and lease revenue from the reopening of Don Mueang Airport, the AOT board has agreed to reward its staff with an 11 months bonus this year. Details, however, have yet to be revealed.

The board was asked to review AOT’s operating results for the 2013 fiscal year (October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013) at its next meeting set for November 6. AOT’s net income before interest, tax and depreciation is Bt22.2 billion, while net profit of about Bt14.4 billion to Bt17.7 billion is up by more than 100 per cent over last year’s net profit of Bt6.50 billion.