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AirAsia renews push for MAVCOM to intervene in airport dispute

AirAsia and AirAsia X are seeking a court order to compel Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) to adjudicate their long-running dispute with Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB).

The two airlines have filed a judicial review application against MAVCOM’s decision not to mediate the dispute with the airport operator, arguing that it "has a statutory duty to decide on the dispute once mediation between parties has failed, or is deemed to have failed".

AirAsia and its long-haul sister carrier have been pushing for MAVCOM to mediate a MYR480 million ($115 million) claim against MAHB relating to economic losses and poor service levels at the KLIA2 terminal it operates from at Kuala Lumpur International airport.

That action was launched in January after MAHB filed a MYR36.4 million lawsuit against the airlines the month before for failing to remit higher passenger services charges since 1 January 2018.

The airlines claim that there are statutory provisions stating that MAVCOM has a responsibility to mediate on the disputes between them and MAHB before seeking other remedies. Based on those provisions, they are seeking to have the lawsuit thrown out.

MAVCOM acknowledged the application, but declined to comment further, noting that it has not been served and legal documentation.

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes has repeatedly complained about high charges and poor infrastructure at the KLIA2 terminal. The airline has resisted a regulatory ruling that it should pay the same passenger charges as airlines using the main terminal at KLIA, arguing that the terminal is a low-cost facility and should be charged as such.

MAHB maintains that KLIA2 is not a low-cost terminal and provides more capacity at the airport.

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