AirAsia ready to end airport spat

SEPANG, 21 February 2019:  AirAsia reiterated, Tuesday, that it preferred to resolve issues with Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) amicably, following a meeting with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).

AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes, said he concurred with the views of EPF CEO, Tunku Alizakri Alias, that the ongoing legal spat between AirAsia and the airport operator was bad for the country.

Fernandes had earlier met with Tunku Alizakri at EPF headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said: “We share EPF’s concerns that this legal battle is not good and has a negative effect on both the country and one of Malaysia’s largest revenue earners — the tourism industry.

“AirAsia’s record in growing Malaysian tourism and aviation sectors speaks for itself. We want to grow it further and we have always maintained that we want to make Malaysia the most successful low-cost aviation hub in the world.

“However, our growth is dependent on our low-cost model that we have successfully built our business on. In the last several years, AirAsia has shown exponential growth in tourism and the aviation sector.

“As MAHB’s biggest customer, we would be very happy to meet and work with them to increase tourism revenues, to boost Malaysia’s position as a top tourist destination, to provide returns to our shareholders, and most of all, to ensure every Malaysian can fly.”

EPF had sent letters to AirAsia and MAHB expressing its unhappiness and AirAsia had replied and agreed to meet EPF to explain.

Fernandes said he explained all these to Tunku Alizakri, and stressed that AirAsia had not initiated the suit.

He said: “In fact, we proposed mediation by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), which is provided under the Mavcom Act 2015, but this was rejected by MAHB. Unfortunately, Mavcom has also decided to take a hands-off approach, although this issue over airport tax, which is the subject of MAHB’s suit against us, is within MAVCOM’s ambit.”