KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 25) : Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) claimed today that the filing of the group's RM78.16 million suit against AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) will not derail AirAsia X's proposed debt restructuring scheme because MAHB acknowledges the importance of AirAsia as a key partner in the aviation sector, which is facing very challenging and difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement today, MAHB claimed that the debt owed to the airport operator by long-haul budget airline AirAsia X is less than 0.01% of the total debt owed by AAX under its debt restructuring scheme.
"We have always treated all our airline partners equally and fairly. Agreeing to any haircut to one airline will set a precedent for the rest. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the importance of AirAsia as a key partner and we shall continue engaging them to find the best solution forward.
"MAHB is pursuing its legal rights to recover the debt from AirAsia X which is critical for the upkeep and maintenance of the airports. The outstanding aeronautical charges comprise regulated charges by the government including the passenger service charges, passenger service security charges, aircraft parking and landing charges, as well as aerobridge charges, check-in counter charges, and late payment charges.
"These monies are to be ploughed back into the business to sustain the operation of the airport and ensure the service levels continue to be delivered to the passengers," MAHB said.
According to MAHB, the aviation industry is facing very challenging and difficult times due to the pandemic as airlines and airports are facing the same prospects in terms of passenger traffic contraction and loss of revenue.
MAHB said that while some airlines have inevitably collapsed due to the extreme business conditions, airports are facing the same extreme conditions as well.
"However, closing down the airports is not a conceivable option for the nation (Malaysia). Airports are strategic and critical national infrastructure and [they have] remained operational throughout the pandemic and will have to continue to survive to the best of [their] ability to serve the public and to ensure the country is not crippled in terms of connectivity.
"The board of MAHB has the responsibility to act in the best interest of the company in order to protect its shareholders, the country's air transport infrastructure and more than 10,000 people nationwide under the company's employment," MAHB said.
According to MAHB's Bursa Malaysia filing last Thursday, MAHB's wholly owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB) initiated a civil suit against AAX on that day to claim the RM78.16 million from AAX.
MAHB said MASSB filed a writ of summons and statement of claim at the Kuala Lumpur High Court against AAX.
Last Friday, MAHB said MASSB filed an application to intervene in and be excluded from AAX's proposed debt restructuring scheme because AAX had named MASSB as one of its unsecured creditors.
"The intervention application seeks to exclude MASSB from this proposed debt restructuring scheme on the basis that, pursuant to the express terms of the conditions of use for Kuala Lumpur International Airport, MASSB is a secured creditor of AirAsia X. In particular, MASSB is a lien holder whose debt is secured by a contractual lien over the user properties of AirAsia X," MAHB said.
Today, MAHB said its statement is in response to a news report published by The Star titled "MAHB checkmates AirAsia X" yesterday.
Last Friday, MAHB's share price closed up 10 sen or 2.38% at RM4.30 for a market value of RM7.14 billion. The stock saw 1.68 million shares traded.