Department of Civil Aviation chief Woradej Harnprasert said it was unlikely the planned departure tax increase woud be approved soon. There there had been no meetings called on the issue by the Civil Aviation Committee (CAC). This was because of the absence of political direction, because of the current conflict.
The new airport tax increase needs approval from the committee, and then from the transport minister.
"The airport passenger tax increase is a policy issue which needs consultation and agreement from the CAC first, before final approval from the transport minister.
The CAC is a screening body. But no meetings have been arranged because of the status of the government as a caretaker government," he said.
AoT has pushed for airport departure taxes to be increased - a doubling of the domestic pasenger service tax from 100 baht to 200 baht, and an increase in the international passenger departure tax from 700 to 800 baht - since July last year.
This would increase revenue by an estimated 3.8 billion baht a year. Airport tax accounts for 45 per cent of AoT's revenue, currently about 13 billion baht a year.
An AoT official said the present charge for domestic travellers is below cost, which is now about B336 per passenger. The cost for international flights, however, remains at B500, the official admitted.
Airport officials gave conflicting accounts on the plan.
AoT president Makin Petplai said the agency had already submitted reasons for the increase to the CAC, but the committee has not seen the proposal.
Even as the airport service tax remains unchanged, for now, the counter check-in fee will rise from May 1.
Passengers using all airports under the AoT – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai – will have to pay B30, up from B25.
The fee is automatically included in the airline ticket.
Suvarnabhumi general manager Rawewan Netrakavesna defended the increase, saying that the airports have not increased charges for a long time.
Another AoT official said the new fee will generate B400 million more for the agency annually. About 80 million passengers passed through AoT airports last year.
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