Monday, July 6, 2009

AirAsia Says It Has Been Paying MAHB Monthly

26 June 2009

KUALA LUMPUR-- AirAsia Bhd said it has been making monthly payments on the money owing to Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) for using its airport services.

However, there is a portion that has remained outstanding, pending decision on AirAsia's request for MAHB to review its charging mechanism, AirAsia chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar said in a statement today.

He said this in response to statements made in the Parliament recently that the company has not paid MAHB since 2002.

"These (outstanding sum) include the high airport terminal charges and tariff which are the same as those applied to the KL International Airport (KLIA) Main Terminal Building which we feel is too high considering the very basis for facilities at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LLCT)," he said.

Transport Minister, Ong Tee Kiat had on May 20 told the Parliament that AirAsia owed about RM110 million to MAHB for its use of airports in the country from March 2002 to March 31, 2008.

"AirAsia is in a strong financial position and able to meet its financial obligations as and when due," the statement said.

The company abided by the government's directive to move to the LCCT from the Main Terminal Building on March 23, 2006 in support of the government's effort to boost the LCC industry in Malaysia and to turn Kuala Lumpur into the regional LCC hub.

"We received indications that MAHB would review for a contract as well as a service level agreement but three years on after the move, neither a commercial agreement or a service level agreement had been prepared and presented to MAHB," Abdul Aziz said.

With the increasing aircraft fleet, increased passenger numbers brought into Malaysia via LCCT and substantial landings due to higher flight frequency and aggressive route expansion, the company has helped MAHB recover its investment in terminal buildings, runway and supporting infrastructure much earlier than expected, he said.

This is the company's contribution to improve the efficient and effective utilisation over some of these charges and that dispute needs to be resolved.

"Contrary to claims made, the current management of AirAsia has paid MAHB on a monthly basis.

"The issue is not one of AirAsia withholding payments to MAHB but the issue is that there is a dispute over some of these charges and that dispute needs to be resolved," Abdul Bakar added.

He, however said that the company welcomed the government's move to appoint a consultant to resolve the issues between AirAsia and MAHB.

"We hope the government's intervention in this matter will help bring about a swift resolution that will be beneficial to all parties concerned," he said.

Since moving to the LCCT in March 2006, AirAsia has been overcharged by no less than RM12 million.

There are also growth incentives on the increase in number of passenger throughput and landings worth no less than RM90 million, for which both parties have been in discussion but yet to reach a conclusion.

AirAsia has since 2003 paid MAHB a total of RM404 million.

In 2008, it paid RM117 million, while in the first five months of this year, over RM40 million has been paid.

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