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AirAsia will stay put at current airport
Publication Date : 02-04-2014
AirAsia and AirAsia X have refused to move to KLIA2, the new air terminal built specifically for low cost carriers, until all the safety and security issues have been resolved.
AirAsia group is supposed to be the anchor tenant at the new airport, accounting for more than 80% of KLIA2’s traffic that is slated for opening on May 2.
It does not want to budge from the existing terminal known as the LCCT – which it has often referred to as the horse stable – despite warnings that the LCCT in Sepang will be closed by May 9.
AirAsia group was responding to a statement by Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi who said that KLIA2 would open as scheduled and the present LCCT would no longer be operational after May 9.
He also hoped that AirAsia would join the government authorities and four other airlines – Malindo Air, Cebu Airlines, Tiger Airways and Mandala Airlines – in the big move to KLIA2.
However, AirAsia and AirAsia X stood firm and said that they would still be based at the current LCCT even after May 9.
“The move to KLIA2 is imminent. However, it will only be carried out after all issues are addressed,’’ AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Aireen Omar said.
AirAsia’s contention is that there are safety and security issues that need addressing before they can move. It is also concerned over potential rise in airport charges and passenger service charge, which could raise the overall cost of travelling and burden travellers.
AirAsia group cited the recent Ikram Premier Consultings’ report, the findings of which revealed that there were depressions on the taxiway/apron and runway which would necessitate periodic remedial measures to be undertaken on relevant areas.
“This will prove to be operationally disruptive to a hub airline such as AirAsia Group which has about 400 aircraft movements in a day and at least 70 aircraft in its fleet in the LCCT. Last year alone, the group carried 22 million passengers via LCCT. We believe it is crucial to ensure that whole remedial steps are undertaken prior to a transfer, which will mitigate risks relating to any potential aviation incidents,’’ AirAsia group said.
Aireen added that “we want to ensure that our guests will have a seamless journey, without any interruptions that might potentially be caused by any periodic remedial measures undertaken by KLIA2.’’
The group also said the two-month period for operational readiness and airport transfer (ORAT) was too “unrealistic and overly optimistic.’’
But the Government and airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), have maintained that the two-month period was adequate for the ORAT.
Yesterday Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed met representatives from MAHB and said AirAsia would be called up and given an opportunity to clear the air over the issues. Apparently many explanations given by MAHB touched on AirAsia which seemed to have some influence on the construction of KLIA2.
Nur Jazlan said he did not see any leakages causing the delays related to the construction of KLIA2.
Earlier, Kaprawi denied allegations of cost overuns despite suggestions that the cost overuns could be huge.