Carbon fee for air travel up to airlines, says Mavcom


(Photo: iStock)

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) is reviewing the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC) to align with the impending introduction of carbon fee for air travel, expected to be implemented as early as April this year. 

Mavcom said that the Transport Ministry had agreed in principle to permit both local and international airlines operating in and out of Malaysia to charge a carbon fee on domestic and international flights. 

The regulator also said the fee is optional and is up to the airlines' discretion. 

"Aligned with the implementation of the new policy, the commission is now reviewing and enhancing the MACPC. We acknowledge the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA),” said Mavcom.

According to Mavcom’s spokesperson, this scheme is an inportant aspect of the decarbonization strategy and is a significant step towards reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mavcom is presently conducting a survey to collect public feedback on the implementation of the carbon fee.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said on Mar. 4 that some amendments to the Mavcom's Code of Conduct regulations regarding consumer protection must be made before the introduction of the carbon fee.

"The code will be amended by April this year. Once Mavcom has finalized the amendment of the consumer protection code of conduct, that is up to the airline companies on when plan to start collecting the carbon levy.

"But they have to have a very transparent mechanism to show how they spend the levy," he said that the levy is not a tax collection by the government. 

The proposal for air travel carbon fee was mooted by Malaysian airlines to offset carbon emissions.  However, the specific utilization of the fees collected by carriers and whether the public will have visibility into the expenses incurred using these fees remain undisclosed at present.

So far, only Malaysia Airlines Bhd is using blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for its flights. 

Malaysia's decision to introduce optional carbon fee collection follows Singapore’s announcement of a SAF levy for airlines and travelers to buy alternative fuel.  The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said the levy collected would be determined by several factors, including the distance travelled and the class of travel.

Singapore announced last month that all airlines departing the country must use at least 1% of SAF io reduce carbon emissions. 

Loke said that unlike Singapore, Malaysia would allow airlines the option to charge the carbon fee. 

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