AirAsia is calling on Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to prioritise more critical operational and passenger experience issues at klia2, rather than proposed plans to integrate its low-cost carrier hub klia2 with KLIA.
The plans, which were endorsed by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM), have become a topic of conversation, even though the two organisations have failed to design an execution model for the interlining.
It should be noted that MAHB has also not engaged in appropriate consultation with AirAsia or AirAsia X, the two largest airline operators accounting for 97 percent of overall passenger traffic at klia2.
AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said, “Major infrastructure and capex-intensive plans to integrate KLIA and klia2 need to be put on hold, and instead more critical issues need to be prioritised by MAHB. MAHB’s focus should be on spending the increased money, in the form of airport tax they’re asking for from passengers, on bringing klia2 facilities up to the same standard as the luxurious KLIA, fixing the uneven aprons and taxiways, installing more guest friendly spaces and redesigning boarding gates. MAHB has also been relatively slow in embracing technology to improve the overall passenger experience.
“Other, more prudent uses of the additional airport tax could for example include dealing with overcrowding at airports around Malaysia such as Penang International Airport, where the check-in area is simply too small to handle the growing volume of people using it.”
AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said, “Our vision has always been about pioneering a low-cost carrier hub for Asia and, of course, for the people of Malaysia and its tourism sector, whereby long-haul travellers from places like Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan can stop or connect seamlessly and efficiently into Asean’s most extensive short-haul network. With this and AirAsia’s existing know-how in mind, there is simply no point in wasting budget travellers’ hard-earned money on a concept that does not make sense.
“We do not see any benefit in interlining the full-service carriers at KLIA with low-cost carriers at klia2. In our 18 years of operations, we have not received any request for interlining services from full-service carriers, including our own flag carrier which operates out of KLIA. There is absolutely no interlining potential for the airlines, which MAHB fails to understand. This also shows that MAHB has no real understanding of what airlines and passengers truly need.”
MAVCOM’s endorsement of the integrated terminal concept and the airside interlink proposal are further justification of the fact that MAHB and its increased charges are less about passengers and more about the MAVCOM-initiated Regulatory Asset Base (RAB), which seeks to protect and maintain MAHB’s earnings.