BARIO: Passengers boarding flights at Malaysia’s short take-off and landing airports (STOLport) will continue to be exempted from paying airport tax despite current challenges, Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said.
MAHB’s acting group chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said flight ticket rates for STOLport still remain as before, and continue to be partly subsidised by the government.
"For now, passengers are not subject to airport taxes and the services at STOLport remain a corporate social responsibility (CSR) for MAHB.
"Construction of the STOLport has generated many benefits, especially to the local communities,” he added.
MAHB operates 18 STOLports nationwide, serving rural, remote areas as well settlements that are hard to reach via land. STOLports also do not charge passenger service charges (PSCs).
"In addition to connecting locals as well as outsiders to the remote interior areas, STOLport also serves as one of the ways MAHB 'gives back' to the community," Raja Azmi said after the inauguration of the recently upgraded STOLport Bario Terminal, jointly sponsored with MasWings Sdn Bhd (MasWings) yesterday.
MAHB allocated about RM300,000 for the upgrading work of STOLport Bario.
Also present were MasWings chief executive officer, Aminuddin Zakaria; senior management of MAHB and representatives of local communities.
Raja Azmi said MAHB was also planning to upgrade other STOLports in order to provide better services to its users.
"We are looking at the needs especially in major STOLports such as Bario, Marudi and Lawas," he said.
In addition, he said, MAHB will also review the frequency of flights across all STOLports and evaluate their relevant requirements.
"We will see whether the frequencies of flights at these locations should be reduced or added, depending on demand.
"The matter is now at discussion stage and requires agreement between the Ministry of Transport, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and the state government," he said.
The upgrading of STOLport Bario terminal building will increase its capacity to handle aircraft from 21 to 28 aircraft per week.
With the facility, nearly 7,500 residents comprising 46 villages in Bario's small district can enjoy various benefits, creating jobs and generating economic growth in the area.