AirAsia perplexed over MAHB's call for it to retract earlier statements

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 11): AirAsia has said it is “perplexed” over Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB)’s letter of demand to retract press statements issued by the group.

AirAsia Malaysia  chief executive officer (CEO) Riad Asmat and AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail said the group is not surprised to receive a response from MAHB, but is puzzled that MAHB “continues to use its dominant position and the threat of legal action” in order to stifle what the airline deems as fair comments.

Riad and Benyamin said AirAsia was only responding to MAHB’s suits pertaining to the Passenger Service Charge (PSC), and that the airline has offered to mediate as per the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act (Mavcom) Act to resolve its issues with the airports operator.

“We maintain that a court battle will have negative effects on Malaysia’s economy and aviation industry,” said Riad and Benyamin.

They said AirAsia stands by whatever it has said while maintaining that the legal action by MAHB is unwarranted.

In a statement released earlier today, MAHB said it has issued a letter of demand to AirAsia calling for the removal of statements made by Riad and Benyamin on AirAsia Newsroom and “cease and desist immediately from making further false, inaccurate and misleading statements” about MAHB.

The airport operator claimed that AirAsia had overstepped its boundaries by allegedly publishing false, inaccurate and misleading statements aimed at damaging the reputation of MAHB.

On Feb 4, Riad issued a statement on MAHB’s clarification on the PSC charges, calling MAHB “duplicitous and disingenuous in its arguments”.

Both parties have each maintained that they are willing to take the necessary actions to defend their cases

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

Meanwhile, MAHB says it has reserved all its rights to take further necessary action should AirAsia refuse to comply with the letter of demand and persist in making further "false, inaccurate and misleading” statements about MAHB.

Shares in MAHB closed higher by three sen or 0.39% to RM7.93 today, giving the group a market capitalization of RM13.11 billion.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Group Bhd closed unchanged at RM3.12 for a market capitalisation of RM10.43 billion.

AirAsia X Bhd also closed unchanged at 28.5 sen with a market capitalisation of RM1.18 billion.