8 March 2014
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) may be racing against time to meet with the self-imposed May 2, 2014 deadline for klia2, but the new low-cost carrier terminal is likely to open without its largest user, AirAsia Bhd.
AirAsia, when asked if it would be operating out of klia2 on May 2, 2014, said it has yet to receive any official notification from MAHB to operate out of the new terminal. The airline did not state if it was ready to move to klia2.
"We were informed that the Cabinet on Wednesday (Feb 26, 2014) agreed to appoint independent qualified technical advisers to address the issues that recently surfaced. "
"For AirAsia, the safety and interest of our passengers are our utmost priority. We look forward to moving to our new home and start operations at klia2 as soon as every aspect of the new airport has been certified safe," it said in a statement released yesterday.
The airline also alluded to a Service Level Agreement that "includes indemnification on safety, timeliness of the project, and assurance of the safety of lives and our assets", which is not in place yet.
It went on to say that there are also other unresolved issues such as the check-in systems which it is still working through with MAHB.
"We are committed to grow klia2 and make Malaysia the next global hub like Dubai but to facilitate this, we need our partners to understand the low cost business model and provide certain guarantees so we can carry over the cost savings to our passengers," the airline said.
According to a statement by MAHB on Tuesday however, the May 2 opening has been communicated clearly to all stakeholders and was reiterated at the recent Orat steering committee meeting, which was attended by AirAsia representatives.
MOT deputy Minister Datuk Adb Aziz Kaprawi, who heads the klia2 task force told SunBiz when contacted, the question of notification should not arise as the government has made the announcement on the operational date of klia2, which other airlines have used as a basis to engage MAHB.
"I can understand if it takes time for them to move in (considering their fleet size) and (they) can’t do so on May 2, but probably within a month’s time we hope AirAsia will follow suit," he said.
Aziz added that the government can’t force AirAsia to move but it hopes that considering the congestion that the LCCT is experiencing now, the airline would look to exploit the better facilities that klia2 offers as soon as possible.
According to him, AirAsia was given the privilege to be located within the terminal building, but to date work on its office is yet to start.
"I believe however that a few of AirAsia’s personnel have visited the terminal," Aziz said.
An analyst report last week said that AirAsia management had guided that it is likely to move into klia2 in October or November this year.
Aziz reserved comment on whether the government would allow AirAsia to operate out of the current LCCT until then.