Stop threatening us, AirAsia tells MAHB

AirAsia says it is only responding to suits filed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad over the passenger service charge. (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia has hit back at Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), saying the airport operator is using its dominant position to threaten legal action against it and to suppress “fair comment”.

The budget airline’s reaction came after MAHB warned it earlier today to take down “inaccurate and misleading articles” on its website and to stop issuing further statements critical of the airport operator.

The two parties have been embroiled in a war of words after MAHB sued AirAsia and its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) over outstanding taxes, and the airlines counter-sued MAHB for more than RM400 million for losses and damages due to operational disruptions at klia2.

In a statement, AirAsia said it was only responding to suits filed by MAHB over its passenger service charge (PSC).

“In furtherance of open dialogue and an amicable solution, we offered to mediate as required under the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) Act to resolve all outstanding issues. However, MAHB summarily rejected this overture,” it said.

The airline said it stood by everything it had published on its website, AirAsia Newsroom, and maintained that MAHB’s threat of legal action was unwarranted.

“We will avail ourselves of all avenues to defend ourselves against all action, whether through mediation and arbitration as the law requires, or in the courts of law as MAHB seeks,” it said.

Earlier, in a letter of demand, MAHB and its subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd said it wanted AirAsia and AAX and their CEOs to “cease and desist immediately from making further false, inaccurate and misleading statements” about the airport operator.

“While Malaysia Airports takes no issue with AirAsia informing its shareholders of the progress and status of court suits in accordance with the law, AirAsia has overstepped its boundaries by publishing false, inaccurate and misleading statements in the media aimed at damaging the reputation of Malaysia Airports,” it said.

It said that as the dispute between the two companies was before the courts, there was no need for AirAsia to “make disparaging remarks about Malaysia Airports”.