Mystery fee

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TRAVELLERS who have paid more than K4,600 to fly to Malaysia on a repatriation flight on Jan 26 were told this week to pay an additional K700.
The private company collecting the fee described it as payment for a tracking app while a separate advisory to the travellers referred to it as “charges”.
A company spokesman, however, went on to say that they could not track people overseas with the app.
The fee is on top of the RM5,450 (about K4,700) that travellers have paid for a one-way ticket to either Kuching or Kuala Lumpur.
The chartered flight was approved by the National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning, who is also the Commissioner of Police.
He is on leave and could not be contacted for comment.
The advisory on Monday said the controller had approved the flight but “there are charges imposed by the PNG authorities at K700 per passenger”.
Travellers were told to pay directly into the bank account of Jaydez Ltd and were given until Thursday (today) to do so.
“Payment receipt and passenger detail (sic) must be emailed to payment@trakpro.com.pg and copy to kurtkodien@gmail.com,” the advisory said.
Acting controller Dr Daoni Esorom said he was not aware of the “exit fee” and as far as he was concerned, it was illegal.
A check with the Investment Promotion Authority shows that Jaydez provides professional and other services.
When contacted yesterday, the company spokesman said: “It’s (fee) for the tracking app as requested by the charter organiser.
“They (passengers) are paying for the tracking app.
“It’s like people coming out of Australia to PNG, their requirement is to have tracking so this is the charter company who is imposing their proposal for safe tracking of the people who is flying.
“There is no requirement for people leaving Papua New Guinea to be charged.”
Trakpro has been contracted by the centre to help monitor people under quarantine in the country.
Health Minister Jelta Wong said his ministry had not approved any such fee and denied any knowledge of it.
One Malaysian traveller said he was shocked to learn of the “fee” which he described as “exorbitant”.
Another asked for the reasons for the fee.
Both said they had no choice but to pay as they wanted to return home to see their families.
“I have not seen my wife and children for almost a year because of the Covid-19,” said one.
It is understood that most, if not all, of the 100-plus passengers had also paid the K700 fee to Jaydez.
The B737-800 to be used for the Jan 26 flight can accommodate about 140 passengers in economy class and 16 in business.
The business class fare is about K6,200 and the economy about K4,600.
Passengers are required to pay the fare directly to a company based in Kuala Lumpur which supposedly organised the charter.
If all seats are taken up, the fares would total about K821,120. The additional “fee” will total another K112, 000.
The plane will arrive in Port Moresby early on Jan 26 and depart at about 1pm for Kuching before proceeding to Kuala Lumpur. In September and December, there were two other similar flights back to Malaysia but there was no fee for any app or “charges”.

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