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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MAHB says door to AirAsia SLA open

December 06, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — Malaysia Airports (MAHB) says it is willing to give AirAsia a service level agreement (SLA) for KLIA2 even though the conditions of use (CoU) agreement currently in force is common practice in the industry.

“The CoU provides guidance on the use of airport facilities particularly in regard to the safe and secure use of the airport, as well as a schedule of applicable airport charges. This is very much in line with the common industry practice,” it said in a statement today.

The public finger-pointing between the two parties began when AirAsia boss Fernandes rubbished MAHB’s justifications for the increased cost of KLIA2 on micro-blogging site Twitter on November 29. — file pic
“In regard to AirAsia’s request for a specific service level agreement and its claim of having SLAs at airports abroad, we have indicated our willingness to have an SLA and are awaiting AirAsia’s proposal on the SLA for further study and consideration.”

AirAsia said today it wants an SLA from MAHB for KLIA2 to guarantee a minimum level of service from the airport operator and to avoid arbitrary airport charge hikes in future.

AirAsia commercial director Jasmine Lee likened the present CoU arrangement to renting a house without first securing a tenancy agreement from the landlord.

“AirAsia is the victim here because we can be charged anything, anytime they want ... We can’t hold them accountable for anything at all so we’re at their mercy,” she told reporters.

MAHB, however, reminded AirAsia today that all airport charges are regulated by the government, and that mechanisms for future hikes were clearly defined in MAHB’s operating agreement with Putrajaya.

The public finger-pointing between the two parties began when AirAsia boss Tan Sri Tony Fernandes rubbished MAHB’s justifications for the increased cost of KLIA2 on micro-blogging site Twitter on November 29.

He said the airport operator’s decision to increase the new terminal’s capacity to 45 million passengers per annum (PPA) from 30 million made little sense as that would make it larger than “the whole of Singapore’s Changi Airport”.

MAHB then claimed capacity expansion was done at AirAsia’s request, in line with the budget carrier’s own projections for future growth.

But AirAsia reiterated again today it did not ask for a larger terminal to be built now despite projecting that PPA will hit 45.3 million by 2020, noting that it had only asked MAHB to ensure KLIA2 could be expanded if needed.

KLIA2 will be the world’s largest LCCT when it is completed in April 2013, six months later than originally scheduled.

The cost of the terminal has nearly doubled to RM3.9 billion from RM2 billion since the project began in 2009.

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