From CY Ming
On Nov 2, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) extended a welcoming hand to airlines that planned to utilise either Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or klia2.
As advantages at klia2 would be reduced or removed from January next year, AirAsia began talks with MAHB to relocate its operations to KLIA, but again faced a stonewall, no thanks to doublespeak by MAHB.
In an about-turn on Nov 10, MAHB Managing Director Badlisham Ghazali disclosed that KLIA has reached almost full capacity during the peak hours and AirAsia can only move some of its operations there.
He was reported to have said “KLIA’s capacity is already reaching its maximum now. AirAsia can only move during the non-peak periods, for example from 10am to noon. But during the peak hours (6am to 10am), it would be impossible to accommodate AirAsia.”
He also said: “It also does not look good for Malaysia if the airport allows hybrid/low-cost carriers to mix with first class/business class carriers.”
If so, why was he so gung-ho earlier in offering airlines to choose KLIA or klia2?
MAHB had fought hard to increase the passenger service charge (PSC) at klia2 to match that of KLIA, forgetting that the former was meant as a low-cost carrier terminal.
But due to construction costs which had ballooned, so now MAHB is trying to recoup its investment by raising the PSC at passengers’ expense.
Since there will no differentiation in PSC, it was no surprise that AirAsia chose to move to KLIA so that its passengers get the best value for money.
Clearly, MAHB had mixed up the award winning KLIA with klia2, which is a replacement of the former Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), by insisting that PSC for both should be the same.
Now it has the audacity to tell airlines not to get mixed up over the two terminals.
CY Ming is an FMT reader.
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