AirAsia X disputes MAHB's claim over RM35m in unpaid dues

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 1): AirAsia X Bhd (AAX), the long-haul, low-cost affiliate of AirAsia Group Bhd, has disputed claims by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) for unpaid fees amounting to RM34.88 million, saying it has consistently made monthly payments to the airport operator.

According to its chief executive officer Benyamin Ismail, AAX has remitted payments to Malaysia Airports Holdings (Sepang) Sdn Bhd on Feb 2, March 1, April 1 and most recently, a sum of RM16.58 million yesterday.

"This is contrary to claims made in a writ of summons and statement of claim filed by Malaysia Airports (Sepang) that AAX has refused and/or failed to fulfill outstanding payments," he said in a statement early this morning.

AAX was responding to an announcement by MAHB yesterday that its wholly-owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) had on April 27 filed a lawsuit against AAX, claiming the airline owes it RM34.88 million in outstanding airport charges, rent and late payment charges.

Despite numerous demands, the airport operator said AAX had refused and/or failed to pay the outstanding amount.

"(The payments were made) despite the ongoing reconciliation process of reimbursement for losses incurred by the airline due to a fuel pipeline leak at klia2 in Sepang in October 2016," said Benyamin.

"AAX, along with AirAsia, have lodged numerous official complaints regarding dissatisfactory airport facilities and high charges in the past, but Malaysia Airports (Sepang) has shown little to no interest in resolving the outstanding issues," he said.

"The reconciliation process is expected to allow the airlines to recover losses incurred due to the inferior airport facilities," he added.

Benyamin said AAX remains committed to resolving the outstanding issues with Malaysia Airports (Sepang).

MAHB shares closed unchanged at RM9.01 yesterday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM14.95 billion. AAX shares, meanwhile, rose 0.5 sen or 1.32% to close at 38.5 sen for a market value of RM1.6 billion.