1 August 2019
Low-cost carrier (LCC) AirAsia Group Bhd has not been consulted by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) following the latter’s proposal to build an interlining between the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and its second terminal klia2.
In a statement released today, AirAsia has called on the airport operator to prioritise more critical operational and passenger experience issues at klia2, rather than setting plans to integrate its LCC hub klia2 with KLIA.
AirAsia and its long-haul unit, AirAsia X Bhd (AAX), which account for 97 per cent of overall passenger traffic at klia2, said the proposal endorsed by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) had also failed to design an execution model for the interlining.
AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said major infrastructure and capital expenditure intensive plans to integrate KLIA and klia2 need to be put on hold as more critical issues need to be prioritised by MAHB.
“MAHB’s focus should be on spending the increased money, in the form of airport tax they are asking for from passengers, on bringing klia2 facilities up to the same standard as the luxurious KLIA, fixing the uneven aprons and taxiways, installing more guest friendly spaces and redesigning boarding gates,” he said.
Riad said MAHB had also been relatively slow in embracing technology to improve the overall passenger experience.
“Other, more prudent uses of the additional airport tax could for example include dealing with overcrowding at airports around Malaysia such as Penang International Airport, where the check-in area is simply too small to handle the growing volume of people using it,” he added.
AAX chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail said the airline’s vision has always been about pioneering a low-cost carrier hub for Asia and the people of Malaysia and its tourism sector.
“Long-haul travellers from places like Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan can stop or connect seamlessly and efficiently into Asean’s most extensive short-haul network.
“With this and AirAsia’s existing know-how in mind, there is simply no point in wasting budget travellers’ hard-earned money on a concept that does not make sense,” he said.
Benyamin said the airline did not see any benefit in interlining the full-service carriers at KLIA with low-cost carriers at klia2.
“In our 18 years of operations, we have not received any request for interlining services from full-service carriers, including our own flag carrier which operates out of KLIA.
“There is absolutely no interlining potential for the airlines, which MAHB fails to understand. This also shows that MAHB has no real understanding of what airlines and passengers truly need,” he said.
AirAsia said MAVCOM’s endorsement of the integrated terminal concept and the airside interlink proposal were less about passengers and more about the commission-initiated Regulatory Asset Base (RAB), which seeks to protect and maintain MAHB’s earnings.