Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia has delivered a bitter rebuke following Malaysia Airports Holdings’ (MAHB) issue of a writ of summons for MYR9.4 million ($2.2 million) in claimed passenger service charges.
The airline says it has not collected this sum from passengers, and refuses to do so.
In addition, sister carrier AirAsia X issued an identical statement, saying that MAHB has issued a writ against it for MYR27 million in passenger service charges.
“We shall defend these proceedings vigorously as we believe the claims are made without justification and are unreasonable,” says the carrier.
It adds that it has collected MRY50 per non-ASEAN passenger, and has paid this to Malaysia Airports. It contends that MAHB wanted to increase this by MYR23 in June, but that the airline refused to do so because it regards KLIA2 as a low-cost airport, and that passenger service fees (PSC) should hence be less than at KLIA’s original terminal.
“We maintain that we are not obliged to collect the same PSC for passengers departing from KLIA2 and will not do so for the sake of all the stakeholders in the aviation and tourism industries,” it says.
It goes on to list a number of complaints about KLIA2, which it feels are the basis for legal claims.
“We also intend to pursue cross claims against [MAHB] in relation to the infrastructure and state of the airports and its operations which include major apron defects, random closure of runways, damage to aircraft and rupture of fuel pipelines. We believe these claims far exceed the claims [MAHB] is seeking. We have attempted – without success - on numerous occasions to engage [MAHB] on these issues but regrettably [MAHB] has decided to bring these issues to the public arena by commencing legal action.”
The statement is just the latest development in a long running dispute between AirAsia, MAHB, and the Malaysian Aviation Commission, which oversees KLIA. The feud had its origins in 2011, when MAHB and AirAsia publicly sparred over costs and capacity of the terminal, to which AirAsia moved its operations in 2014.
AirAsia and its chief executive Tony Fernandes, have complained of high charges and poor infrastructure. MAHB has maintained that KLIA2 is not a low-cost terminal, but intended to provide more total capacity at the airport.
Updated with of AirAsia X's statement on the MYR27 million writ.