13 September 2012
AirAsia Bhd is set to work hand-in-hand with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to discuss and resolve outstanding issues between them with regard to the new low-cost carrier terminal, klia2, in Sepang.
AirAsia Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Aireen Omar said the frills-free airline, which will be the single largest tenant at the new airport, was committed to work together with MAHB to meet the deadline.
She said the airport operator has been very positive so far.
The klia2 is expected to be operational in May 2013, with a maximum capacity of 45 million passengers a year.
"Malaysia Airports has mentioned repeatedly that May 2013 is the date. So, we have to be ready for the date and we will move in once the airport is ready, functional and safe for us to operate as a low-cost carrier.
"Our airline is a low-cost carrier, so we are working with Malaysia Airports to make sure that the airport is ready for a low-cost business structure," she told Bernama.
Aireen said there were several key areas that both AirAsia and MAHB would have to work out to facilitate low-cost flight operations take off smoothly such as the runways, baggage checking system and related facilities.
"We don’t want any glitches on the first day itself. Even the runway has to be of certain standard so that our pilots will feel safe to operate our A320s or A330s. The airport is going to be home for AirAsia X too.
Aireen, who was appointed AirAsia Malaysia’s chief executive in July, said MAHB and AirAsia had very productive weekly meetings and "I have been personally engaging with MAHB Managing Director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad to discuss certain issues pertaining to klia2."
Asked on the spat between MAHB and AirAsia’s supremo Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Aireen said: "I don’t know what they (MAHB) had with Tony before but now it has been mostly on professional basis.
"This is because MAHB has set a target date and I think the whole nation is eyeing on it to see whether it is really happening or not. Thus, there is a need for both MAHB and AirAsia to do something," she said.
"I think a cordial working relationship between the airport operator and AirAsia is very important to see everything moving as planned," he said.
On AirAsia, Aireen said the low-cost carrier would ensure that Malaysia remained as the regional hub for low-cost aviation business in the region, besides playing a crucial role to enhance the tourism industry by flying in more foreign tourists.
"In doing so, the spillover effect will be huge. We are not just bringing in the traffic, but also foreign tourists and foreign exchange into Malaysia.
"We are also creating a centre of excellence for the aviation industry in the Asian region," she added.