KUALA LUMPUR — Feb. 19, 2019: AirAsia Group today met with the Employees Provident Fund over its ongoing spat with Malaysia Airports Holdings. EPF is a major shareholder in the airport operator with over 10 per cent.
MAHB had filed a suit against AirAsia and AirAsia X last December over uncollected passenger service charges of RM36.1 million while in a counterclaims, the budget airline sought more than RM400 million over what they said were losses and damages due to operational disruptions at klia2, the low-cost airport.
In his statement today, a statement issued later, Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said he explained everything to EPF chief executive officer Tunku Alizakri Alias, pointing out that the group did not initiate the suit.
According to Bernama, Fernandes reiterated that the group is happy to meet MAHB at any point and all it wants is for the low-cost model to be appreciated.
“To have low fares, you need low costs. To have low costs, you need a simple airport. To have low fares, you need low airport tax to allow everyone to fly,” he said in a series of tweets.
The passenger service charge has always been a point of contention between the operator and the AirAsia Group.
Another point Fernandes repeated was his group’s willingness for mediation by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) as provided for under the Mavcom Act 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 the suit, is within Mavcom’s ambit,” he pointed out.
Fernandes said the group shares EPF’s concerns that the legal battle is not good and has a negative effect on both Malaysia and one of its largest revenue earners, the tourism industry.
At 4.53pm, the group’s share price eased four cents to RM2.95 with 7.51 million units changing hands while MAHB rose eight sen to RM8.02 with 389,300 shares traded.