KUALA LUMPUR: A blogger who has been vocal in his criticism of AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes’ corporate maneuvers had more to say today about Fernandes’ recent Twitter rant against Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.
In his latest post on Fernandes’ tirade against MAHB, Big Dog noted that there appeared to be an ulterior motive behind the AirAsia chief’s scathing remarks against airport operator.
“This tweet attack was strategic in nature,” he wrote in the posting entitled “The ‘show biz’ trait is really apparent”.
Referring to the scathing Twitter remarks, Big Dog said that Fernandes’ public questioning of MAHB’s decision to build a new runway makes little sense, not only because a third runway would likely benefit AirAsia, but also because Fernandes could have simply raised the matter privately with MAHB.
“If he is against the notion of the third runway, why is he taking this via Twitter now? Shouldn’t Fernandes have raised this much earlier?”
Big Dog also slammed Fernandes’ remarks about the airport tax issue and said he had left out some important details that the public should know.
“What he failed to do is to inform the public that when he first started, MAHB was very considerate to allow AirAsia to operate for three years without any charge. That gave his low cost carrier a lot of slack and room to build the business, this far ahead in so short of time.”
“What Fernandes also conveniently never wants to bring up is that MAHB has not increased airport charges for the past 19 years, even though cost of operation has increased through the years.”
The new airport fees increase, he said, would allow Malaysia’s airports to be upgraded “to match the likes of Terminal 3 in Changi, Chap Lek Kok in Hong Kong, Kansai in Tokyo and Terminal 5 in London Heathrow.”
The blogger said that Fernandes, who “was in show business before he went and tried his luck for AirAsia”, was just “playing the underdog card” and “attempting to make MAHB as the ‘baddie’.”
“Never mind how he denied passengers’ comfort (especially old folks, families with little children and the physically challenged) with his refusal for the aerobridges. Never mind also the point that in the planning for KLIA2, he did not want air-conditioning. It was said when the LCCT was being constructed, Fernandes did not want any lifts.”
Big Dog had speculated in August 2011, shortly after the Malaysia Airlines-AirAsia share swap deal, on the possibility of Tony Fernandes making a play for MAHB so that he could achieve his goal of running his own airport.
It would not be a surprise for Fernandes to attempt this, Big Dog said, because “controlling airports would synergise the whole Tune Group business-turned-empire.
According to the blogger, the biggest obstacle to a bid for MAHB would be the company’s CEO, Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, who would have to be sent packing in order for Fernandes to “call all the shots”.
He repeated this point just last week, saying, “Now that Fernandes has his feet in a Khazanah controlled GLC as a ‘joint operator’, it is believed that Fernandes is now using this new found clout within Khazanah to unseat Bashir.
“The removal of Malaysia Airlines veteran Bashir is very important for Fernandes,” Big Dog wrote on November 24.
“The stand-off about the use of aerobridges for passengers, particularly for the comfort of the extremely young, old and handicapped travelers is being put on hold here. The formula is simple; AirAsia simply don’t want to pay for it.”
Read the latest on the issue from Big Dog HERE.