AirAsia and AirAsia X will appeal against the High Court ruling on July 18, 2019 to pay the outstanding passenger service charges (PSC) to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) (MASSB).
In a statement issued last Friday, AirAsia founders Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun have indicated that they will be appealing the court’s decision, and apply for a stay of execution to “challenge MASSB’s and its parent Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB’s) actions”.
The monies being claimed against AirAsia by MAHB were to be collected from the passengers. AirAsia has said it did not collect the differential amount or withhold its payment to MAHB.
MAHB had imposed a new PSC of RM73 (US$17.80) for passengers using klia2 to destinations out of South-east Asia effective July 2018. This amount is RM23 higher than the previous rate of RM50 that AirAsia has continued to collect from passengers.
“AirAsia has since the beginning opposed this increase in PSC arguing that passengers using the inferior klia2 cannot be forced to pay the same charges as that of the better-equipped and more luxurious KLIA. On that principle, AirAsia has not collected the extra charges imposed by MAHB,” they said.
Both founders also stated that they have sought help from the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), but Mavcom “refused to intervene”, insisting that this “goes against the provisions of the Mavcom Act”.
AirAsia X’s CEO Benyamin Ismail said: “MAHB is painting an inaccurate picture to the Malaysian public by suggesting that klia2 and KLIA are on par in terms of quality and service. Anyone who has used both terminals knows that this is an untruth and an attempt to justify higher earnings for MAHB, whose profits have been growing considerably because of such arbitrary decisions.
“AirAsia has also been facing numerous operational issues with klia2, including frequent unplanned runway closures, uneven aprons and taxiways, and a poor airport design that requires long walks to gates causing passengers to be delayed or lose their way,” Ismail added.
“We would like to reiterate that these legal challenges are not simply a matter between AirAsia and MAHB. In the event we lose in the highest courts of appeal, it is passengers especially Malaysian travellers who will have to pay the differential MAHB is charging. We believe that the people of Malaysia should have the right to a fair deal,” Fernandes and Meranun stressed.