25 June 2018
AirAsia Bhd group chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has urged Malaysians to join the company’s fight against what he deemed as unfair airport taxation, in an attempt seemingly aimed at rallying public support against aviation authorities.
Fernandes vented against the tax imposed on passengers at the low-cost klia2 Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Facebook today, and said the company had all this while fought against the levy alone, but needed Malaysians to voice their opposition too.
“When airport tax was equalised in klia2, we were the only ones who fought and we are still fighting because we truly believe that it isn’t fair for passengers to be charged the same airport tax between KLIA and klia2 when the facilities and services are of completely different levels,” the AirAsia founder wrote.
“As you can see, no airports are built the same and there should not be a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.
“We have always fought alone but if you don’t want the unjustifiable charges to be imposed, we need Mavcom and MAHB to hear you too. They need to listen to Malaysians,” he continued.
Fernandes and AirAsia have been vocal about the passenger service charge and regulation, calling the tax a form of tariff barrier meant to protect national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd.
As a result, the company has often engaged in public spats with Malaysian Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) for much of the past decade.
Just over two weeks ago, AirAsia again locked horns with the authorities, this time with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) over the latter’s decision to reject the carrier’s application to add more flights for the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan and the klia2 Lumpur-Haikou routes.
Fernandes had repeatedly accused MAHB and Mavcom of targeting AirAsia because the company had been vocal in calling for the aviation industry to be liberalised, an allegation he reiterated in his latest Facebook posting.
The AirAsia chief also claimed political intervention was rife in the industry to accord protection to politically-linked competitors.
“I have always dreamed of an aviation industry free from political intervention and one where decisions are based on merits and where healthy competition exists,” he wrote.
“It is a highly regulated business which requires all kinds of government support which means an invisible hand exist where we would never really be able to operate freely.”