AirAsia and AirAsia X have filed a MYR480 million ($158 million) claim against a subsidiary of Malaysia Airports (MAHB) in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 2 October, nine months after the sister carriers expressed their intention to pursue a claim.
The airlines are claiming for losses and damages, caused by the subsidiary's "negligence in the management, operation, maintenance, and provision of airport services and facilities at KLIA2" terminal building.
They first expressed their intention to file a claim against MAHB in January, after the airport operator served AirAsia a writ of summons for MYR9.4 million, and a MYR27 million claim against AirAsia X for unpaid passenger service charges at the end of 2018.
At that time, the carriers said the bulk of their claim arises from the loss of customers over the past four years, owing to disruptions and the poor condition of the KLIA2 terminal, including ruptures to underground fuel lines at the terminal, and closures to the airport's runway 3.
In the months leading up to the latest claim, the airlines had sought mediation by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) but this was rejected by the regulator. It then sought to seek a judicial review of Mavcom's refusal but this was also dismissed.
“We did not want to do this but Malaysia Airports and Mavcom have forced our hand. Despite our best efforts to settle this matter amicably and through the right channels, we feel compelled to file this claim as we were left with no other recourse to protect our interests,” says AirAsia's chief executive Riad Asmat and AirAsia X's chief executive Benyamin Ismail in a joint statement.
“This dispute all started when Malaysia Airports filed a civil suit against us over passenger service charges after rejecting our offer to go for mediation. We have always been open to resolving issues with our partners constructively, and we still contend that Malaysia Airports was heavy-handed in filing the suit.”