4 July 2012

AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has urged Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to beef up its readiness to face the competition, saying most Asean countries are competing against each other to persuade greater involvement of low-cost carriers.

The aviation supremo said MAHB must act fast to complete the new low-cost carrier terminal, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) 2.

Fernandes said Thailand has made Don Mueang the low-cost hub for Bangkok and the Philippines has designated Clark as the gateway for no-frills carriers, while Singapore is building a new budget terminal to more than double capacity to 16 million passengers a year from seven million.

"It's clear the world won't wait for MAHB to get its act together. Time is running out," he said in his latest update in Tony Fernandes CEO Blog.

Fernandes said when KLIA2 was first proposed, MAHB said it would cost RM2 billion, a figure that was later revised to RM2.6 billion. Then came news that the terminal would cost RM4 billion, double the original estimate, and now there is talk that the bill could go as high as RM5 billion, he said.

"That makes no sense - the low-cost terminal will now cost much more than KLIA. Yes, I asked for a new terminal but one that has simple facilities.

"These overruns are matched by delays in the completion date from originally up and running by September 2011, to the first, and later, the second quarter of 2012.

"Well, here we are and construction is only half done. We have been told the terminal will only be operational by the first quarter of next year at the earliest or possibly early 2014, but I wouldn't hold my breath," Fernandes said in an article entitled "What's with the new terminal?"

Fernandes also countered those who attack him for questioning MAHB, saying: "This is not the attitude, it's about not settling for second place and challenging things that are not right.

"Corporate Malaysia has to tell our leaders what's wrong, neither is this about government-linked companies versus private ones. It's about being the best, period."

Source: www.thesundaily.my