Airports of Thailand has resolved to raise passenger departure fees from the current Bt100 (S$3.97) to Bt200 (S$7.94) for domestic flights and from Bt700 (S$27.80) to Bt800 for international flights, effective in mid-2014. AOT chairman Sitha Thivaree 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 (S$3.97), 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.
Sitha said raising the passenger service charge (PSC) was necessary as the actual costs involved had risen to Bt336 per domestic passenger, Bt236 (S$9.37) 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 (S$635,520). The higher departure passenger service charge (PSC) should boost annual revenue by Bt3.8 billion (S$150.9 million) (Bt1.4 billion (S$55.6 million) from domestic flights and Bt2.4 billion (S$95.3 million) from international flights). The profit earned from the international-flights PSC will compensate for the loss incurred on the fee for domestic flights.