AirAsia says MAHB duplicitous, disingenuous over KLIA2 tax fare

AirAsia claims that KLIA2's facilities and level of service were inferior to KLIA. — Malay Mail pic
AirAsia claims that KLIA2's facilities and level of service were inferior to KLIA. — Malay Mail pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Budget airline AirAsia Berhad's chief executive officer Riad Asmat today saidKuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) is a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) where its facilities and level of services are inferior in comparison to that provided at KLIA and should have a different rate.

Riad's response comes a day after Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) issued a statement yesterday that it does not set, fix or control passenger service charges (PSC).

“The facilities and level of service at KLIA2 are inferior to those provided at KLIA, hence, the rates cannot and should not be the same.

“From the onset, KLIA2 was deemed a low-cost terminal as specified on the websites of both MAHB and the Malaysian Ministry of Transport, yet MAHB insists on charging the same amount for KLIA2 as it does for KLIA, a full-service terminal.

“The decision to charge the same airport tax is fundamentally wrong and against the principal of non-discriminatory pricing, which assumes comparable service levels,” he said in a statement.

Riad said MAHB should not have compared the rates of airport taxes with full-scale terminals as the Malaysian government moves towards positioning the country as a low-cost hub to promote tourism.

Citing Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan as examples, Riad said it is part of the changing global travel trends in accepting two operating airport modes, which consists of full-service carriers and low-cost carriers.

“These countries are already in the process of building LCCTs or revamping their airport tax regimes in light of this reality,” he said.

Riad also disputed MAHB’s statement that it has no say in determining airport tax rates as he said the latter is involved in every process being the airport operator.

He said the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) only represents the interests of full-service airlines and not low-cost carriers as its airline members charges premium fares to its passengers.

On the comparison made to other airlines operating at KLIA2, Riad said AirAsia accounts for the majority of flights at the low-cost airport.

“We would like to note that AirAsia accounts for more than 90 per cent of travellers at KLIA2, so citing the example of airlines that use the airport at a minuscule fraction of what AirAsia does, again, is duplicitous and disingenuous, and is akin to comparing apples and oranges.

“As stated previously, we will continue to make air travel accessible to all and to ensure fairness of charges for consumers based on services, including those provided by MAHB, and we believe that the public should not be made to suffer for the sake of enriching  a monopoly,” he said.

On Thursday, AirAsia served a notice to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB), claiming almost RM480 million in damages for losses incurred from operating at KLIA2.

AirAsia attributed its losses of RM479,781,285, mainly from the loss of customers in the last four years due to disruptions and poor conditions of the klia2 terminal.

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