28 July 2009
KUALA LUMPUR: Long-haul budget airline AirAsia X has been denied permission by the Malaysian government to fly into Sydney and Seoul, due to a row over its sister carrier AirAsia, a report said Tuesday.
The move has forced AirAsia X to scramble to make plans to utilise the three new Airbus A330 aircraft due for delivery this year, the Star daily said.
"We had asked for rights to fly to Sydney and Seoul and the government decided to defer granting us the approval," AirAsia X's chief executive officer Azran Osman-Rani reportedly said.
He said the government first wanted AirAsia to settle the issue of an outstanding 65 million ringgit (US$18.5 million) payment for airport services with Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) before giving the green light.
"The dispute is between the two (AirAsia and MAHB) but delaying us from flying into these two destinations will not help travellers who have limited choices," Azran told the daily.
"We know the Koreans are keen to have us and both the airports - Sydney and Seoul - welcome us," he added.
AirAsia was not immediately available to confirm the reported comments.
An affiliate of regional low-cost carrier AirAsia and Virgin Group, AirAsia X was launched in January 2007. AirAsia and AirAsia X have common shareholders, including AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.
AirAsia X currently flies to three Australian destinations - the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth.