31 October 2016

AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes lauded the changes by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) to the passenger service charges (PSC), but said that much more needs to be done.

"The acceptance that low charges [are] what Malaysia needs is historical for me and [Datuk Kamarudin Meranun]. Much more work to be done. But huge step forward," he wrote on Twitter.

Later in the day, AirAsia Bhd and AirAsia X Bhd released a joint statement expressing its "sincere appreciation to Mavcom for their recognition towards low cost travel and the need to maintain low charges to stimulate traffic growth" but stressed that the facilities that are provided in KLIA and klia2 are not at par with each other.

"In terms of equalisation, AirAsia and AirAsia X passengers deserve the same user experience in KLIA, and before charges can be equalised, the facilities at the two airports should be made equal to each other," the companies said.

"Otherwise, we are happy to consider moving AirAsia and AirAsia X operations to KLIA to ensure that the [people] receive the value of what they paid for.

"The customers at KLIA enjoy far superior services whereas the services at klia2 are not entirely satisfactory which does not give rise to a level playing field," the statement read.

Additionally, the airlines are concerned with the new international rate, especially as international passengers, particularly those from China, would now have to pay double the PSC rate at their hub in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

"This may decrease the number of international tourists and eventually force us to put the capacity elsewhere," they said.

"We have repeatedly voiced out that it is important to let tourist numbers return to previous highs before talking about increasing passenger service charges and we are pleased to know that our voices and opinion are being heard and considered," they said.

AirAsia shares fell 1 sen or 0.36% to RM2.77 today. The counter closed with 11.3 million shares traded and a market capitalisation of RM7.71 billion.

Meanwhile, AirAsia X fell 1 sen or 2.33% to RM4.20 for a market capitalisation of RM1.74 billion. The counter saw some 12.3 million shares traded by market close.

Original Source: www.theedgemarkets.com