AirAsia sues KLIA2 operator for RM480m after mediation refused by Mavcom

AirAsia planes are pictured on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang August 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
AirAsia planes are pictured on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang August 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd sued Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB), the operator of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, on Wednesday over alleged losses and damages it suffered at the latter.

In a statement today, AirAsia said it is claiming RM479.78 million from the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) unit after the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) refused to mediate the dispute between the two.

“We did not want to do this but Malaysia Airports and Mavcom have forced our hand,” AirAsia chief executive Riad Asmat and his AirAsia X Bhd counterpart Benyamin Ismail said.

“Despite our best efforts to settle this matter amicably and through the right channels, we feel compelled to file this claim as we were left with no other recourse to protect our interests.

“This dispute all started when Malaysia Airports filed a civil suit against us over Passenger Service Charges (PSC) after rejecting our offer to go for mediation. We have always been open to resolving issues with our partners constructively, and we still contend that Malaysia Airports was heavy-handed in filing the suit,” they added.

AirAsia said the claim filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court is for losses and damages suffered by itself and long-haul sister airline AirAsia X caused by MASSB’s alleged negligence in the management, operation, maintenance and provision of airport services and facilities at KLIA2.

The two airlines said it have previously sought mediation by Mavcom on the dispute with MASSB, in accordance with Sections 74 to 78 of the Mavcom Act 2015, but was refused by the regulator.

In February, MAHB disclosed that only AirAsia and its sister company, AirAsia X, had refused to collect the full RM73 PSC imposed by Mavcom on non-Asean flights at the KLIA2.

Both still collected RM50, the airport’s PSC prior to the Mavcom-directed standardisation with the KLIA, in protest.

Last year, MAHB sent letters of demand to AirAsia and AirAsia X last year seeking RM9.4 million and RM26.72 million in unpaid PSC, respectively.

AirAsia responded with a countersuit in January this year demanding RM400 million from MAHB that it claimed was incurred due to conditions at KLIA2.

It later said it would bring the matter to mediation first, but the move was turned down by MAHB in February.

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