Board of Airline Representatives skewed towards protecting full-service carriers, says AirAsia

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): Low-cost carrier AirAsia Group Bhd says the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) is skewed towards protecting full-service carriers' commercial interests, while ignoring various issues faced by low-cost carriers in Malaysia.

In a statement today, AirAsia dismissed as "inconsequential and self-serving" the comments made by BAR on the carrier's ongoing dispute with airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

In the statement, AirAsia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said BAR has no standing on the issue, as neither do their member airlines operate from klia2 nor are affected by the court decision, rendering their comments inconsequential and immaterial.

"We don't believe that BAR is capable of making positive contributions or comments as they do not represent budget airlines or those who travel on budget airlines," he said.

BAR had yesterday welcomed the High Court's decision to dismiss an application by AirAsia and AirAsia X Bhd to strike out suits by the airport operator over payment of outstanding airport tax, saying it was glad that the equalisation of passenger service charges (PSC) was "finally happening" after so long.

The High Court ruled last week that AirAsia and AirAsia X must pay RM40.6 million in outstanding PSC — which the two airlines had refused to collect from passengers — to MAHB's subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB).

AirAsia Group is appealing the decision.

Meanwhile, Riad said there was a misconception that AirAsia has defaulted in paying the amount claimed by MAHB.

"It must be stressed that AirAsia did not collect these monies from the passengers as we believe they should not be burdened into unfairly paying for an inferior service as they would for the more well-equipped and spacious KLIA.

"Instead, MAHB sued AirAsia to recover this uncollected amount," he said.

Riad also said statements by BAR and MAHB CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin were similar.

"As far as AirAsia is concerned, their comments are based on proprietary interests and not in the interests of the travelling public," said Riad.

At 10.37am, AirAsia added 0.35% or 1 sen to RM2.87 for a market capitalisation of RM9.59 billion.

See also:
MAHB says AirAsia has filed appeal against court's ruling in PSC dispute
MAHB lauds court ruling in suits against AirAsia, says it provides clarity on PSC implementation
Court rules in favour of MAHB in PSC row with AirAsia