‘MAHB does not understand low-cost business’

Tony-Fernandes PETALING JAYA: AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes has expressed regret that the group could not work together with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to realise klia2’s potential as the low-cost carrier hub of Asia.

In an interview with New Straits Times, Fernandes, who is AirAsia group chief executive officer, gave the different priorities set by AirAsia and MAHB as the fundamental reason for tension between the two firms.

He added that MAHB also did not understand the low-cost business.

Fernandes, who has previously said that AirAsia would embark on a campaign to promote klia2 as LCCT2 or the low-cost terminal, said it was the perfect time to re-brand the airport due to the slowing global economy in China and Asean and weaker ringgit.

“The terminal is boring … There is no energy, no excitement, there is nothing … During the peak period, it is a nightmare because of the way the airport is designed,” Fernandes was quoted as saying.

He also questioned the structural defects such as cracks and water ponding in apron bays where aircraft are parked.

Fernandes also revealed that AirAsia was engaged in talks with Changi airport in Singapore and Don Muang airport in Thailand to build low-cost terminals in those countries.

“I’m thinking, why doesn’t this airport (MAHB) support us more? It’s a volume game. If I can take this from 24 million to 50 million (passengers per annum), who wins?”