PETALING JAYA: A transport consultant says assistance for the civil aviation industry in Budget 2023 should be targeted towards benefiting airline staff.
Rosli Azad Khan said many airline staff were laid off during the pandemic, only to have the terms and conditions of their employment “renegotiated downwards” when airlines rehired them.
“Many of them are back at their jobs and doing the same things, but at 30% or 40% lower in salaries and perks,” he said.
Since airlines managed to renegotiate or reschedule their loans, leases and financing of their aircraft during the pandemic, he said, they did not suffer as much as most of their employees did.
National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) president Ismail Nasaruddin also called for more aid for airline staff.
He said the salaries of senior cabin crew should be raised to buffer the high cost of living, particularly for those who helped their companies during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, AirAsia said it hoped to see support for the aviation industry through training grants, subsidies and tax reliefs for employers and staff engaged in upskilling and reskilling courses.
“In this digital economy, we need to make sure that our workforce is well equipped with the necessary skills so that they remain relevant,” it said in a statement.
Given the inflationary pressures that the country is facing, AirAsia said, the government should consider putting on hold any plans to increase or introduce taxes, such as a digital tax or passenger service charges.
“Not only will these taxes burden the people, but they will also derail the recovery of the economy as we emerge from the pandemic,” it said.
Rosli also suggested that the government consider swapping diesel and petrol driven airport vehicles for electric vehicles (EV).
“In this regard, the government has obviously failed to provide any initiatives for airport operators to make a decisive leap towards EV and undertake fleet replacements for airport operation vehicles,” he said.
He said airport operations should be aiming to replace their vehicles within the next two to three years, to reduce pollution and lower the carbon footprint at all the airports in the country.
“The budget can address all these shortcomings,” he said.–FMT