25 July 2019
AirAsia Group Berhad has dismissed the comments made by a group representing the majority of airlines operating in Malaysia in the low-cost carrier’s dispute with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) over the passenger service charge (PSC).
In a statement, AirAsia Berhad CEO Riad Asnat said the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) had no standing in the issue as its members did not operate from klia2 and were not affected by a recent court decision.
This, Riad said, rendered their comments “inconsequential and immaterial”.
“We don’t believe that BAR is capable of making positive contributions or comments as they do not represent budget airlines or those who travel on budget airlines,” said Riad.
Previously, BAR, in a statement to FMT, had welcomed a court decision compelling AirAsia and AirAsia X to pay about RM40.6 million in outstanding PSC, which the two airlines had refused to collect from passengers. AirAsia is appealing the decision.
AirAsia has been collecting RM50 in PSC for passengers travelling in Asean instead of the RM73 gazetted by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
BAR had said the court decision meant the equalisation of PSC was “finally happening” after so long and that AirAsia’s refusal to collect the gazetted amount had created an uneven playing field.
Riad said: “It must be stressed that AirAsia did not collect these monies from the passengers as we believe they should not be burdened into unfairly paying for an inferior service, as they would for the more well-equipped and spacious KLIA.
“Instead, MAHB sued AirAsia to recover this uncollected amount.”
Riad also dismissed MAHB CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin’s comments which he said were similar to BAR’s.
“As far as AirAsia is concerned, their comments are based on proprietary interests and are not in the interests of the travelling public.
“In the name of fair competition, as frequently propagated by Raja Azmi, MAHB should seriously consider building a dedicated and functional low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT), which charges lower rates, like in Jakarta and Tokyo, among others.”
AirAsia, Riad said, maintained that a considerable portion of MAHB’s revenue and profits were contributed by the PSC, which it “diligently collected and remitted” to MAHB in full, according to payment terms as agreed by both parties.
“That is why we have refused to burden our passengers by collecting the extra RM23 for use of the inferior airport at klia2, compared with the more luxurious and better-equipped KLIA, which houses the BAR representatives and their airlines.”
Riad claimed that BAR’s views were skewed towards protecting full-service carriers’ commercial interests, while ignoring various issues faced by low-cost carriers (LCCs) in Malaysia.