AviationAirAsia is not budging

AirAsia remains firm in not moving to Kota Kinabalu airport’s main terminal

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AirAsia remains firm in not moving to Kota Kinabalu airport’s main terminal

AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said the move would “kill tourism” as the airport tax would be increased to RM35 (US$8.8) at Terminal 1.

In yet another tussle with Malaysia airport authorities, low cost carrier AirAsia remains determined to carry on operations at Terminal 2 (budget terminal) at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) in Sabah despite the latest directive by the Transport Ministry to move to Terminal 1 (main terminal).

AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said the move would “kill tourism” as the airport tax would be increased to RM35 (US$8.8) at Terminal 1.

“There is tremendous competition in the region, and by moving to Terminal 1 and increasing the airport tax, it will kill tourism,” he said.

Additionally the move to the main terminal would create heavy congestion, another reason that the airline is adamant about not relocating.

Fernandes was responding to a directive from the country’s Deputy Transport Minister, Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, that all airlines must move to KKIA’s  Terminal 1.

According to reports the call was in response to complaints from the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), operator of the country’s airports, that AirAsia is continuing to operate from the budget terminal despite several deadlines to move.

MAHB said Terminal 2 was built as a temporary facility and could not cater to the number of passengers AirAsia is handling, as it has a capacity for two million passengers annually but are being used by 2.5 and 3.6 million passengers per year.

Terminal 1, which was upgraded in 2010 for RM1.4 billion, has better facilities and the capacity to handle nine million passengers annually. It can meet demand for another six years based on the projected growth of five per cent per year. There is  also additional land for future expansion.

AirAsia’s latest tussle with MAHB is not the first between the two companies. Last month the airline sent a letter of demand to MAHB to claim RM409 million as compensation for loss and damages incurred by the airline’s operations at klia2 and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, Selangor.

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