AirAsia chief launches attack on MAHB on social media
Slamming MAHB's move, Fernandes, who is also a director of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), said: "With economic conditions as they are, MAS and AirAsia have given MAHB great ideas to increase their income by working with us and attract more (new) airlines (to operate from Malaysia)... then (MAHB should) reduce (airport) charges to the people.
"It's the passengers who pay airport tax. We are fighting for the people of Malaysia!" he posted on his Facebook page.
Incidentally, AirAsia had scheduled a press conference yesterday to address the hike in airport taxes by MAHB, but had cancelled it at the last minute, "due to an unforeseen circumstance".
MAHB had last month received the Transport Ministry's nod to raise airport tax at the country's 39 airports it manages, excluding low-cost carrier terminals (LCCTs), to RM65 from RM51 for international travellers. For departing international passengers at the LCCT in Sepang and Terminal 2 Kota Kinabalu, the airport tax will be raised to RM32 from RM25.
The aircraft landing and parking charges, meanwhile, will be gradually raised by up to 30% and 64%, respectively.
"Too many empty promises from MAHB. We as airlines get blamed for their poor performance," Fernandes said.
He also took a swipe at the Transport Ministry's decision to approve the hike, asking why it wasn't defending the people "to make sure they get good value for the (old) RM25 airport tax".
"They are the regulators. The ministry's secretary-general, Datuk Long See Wool, sits on the board of MAHB. How can he be objective and play fair to the airlines?" he asked.
Fernandes also questioned MAHB's recent move to build a 3.96km third runway at the new LCCT called KLIA2 in Sepang, the delay in its completion as well as the escalating cost of building KLIA2.
"Why is KLIA building a third runway when they don't use dual mode on two runways. London's Heathrow Airport has 60 million passengers with two runways. Fix the air traffic system, MAHB. That would have been cheaper than building another runway," he said.
"AirAsia wants MAHB to come clean. Terminal (KLIA2) is supposed to be operational by June 2012 and supposed to cost RM2 billion. What's the truth?"
When contacted by SunBiz yesterday, MAHB CEO and managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid said the airport operator will respond in due course.
Fernandes also hit out at the four MPs who had on Monday criticised him and Khazanah Nasional Bhd CEO and managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar over the recent MAS-AirAsia share-swap deal.
"(The) four MPs have...made it very personal for five years. One MP said I rape poor villagers.
"(But) villagers could never fly before. We have worked so hard to make flying affordable and 130 million people have flown due to us. Why are these members of parliament not questioning the cost of airports and fighting for lower taxes for the rakyat?" he wrote.