AirAsia files US$100m lawsuit against Malaysia Airports

-A Monitor Report1 Feb, 2019 | 284 Views|-+
Kuala Lumpur : AirAsia sued Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), the operator of Kuala Lumpur International Airport for more than MYR400 million ringgits (US$96.7 million) in damages for operational disruptions between 2016 and 2018.

The lawsuit, which also covers AirAsia X claims, has been filed in response to earlier litigation brought by MAHB against the carrier group for allegedly dodging airport fees.

The LCC said in a statement that the damages cover a fuel pipe rupture, which disrupted the carrier's operations from Kuala Lumpur's low-cost KLIA2 terminal between October 11 and November 22, 2016.

It also covers "closures at Runway 3 on numerous occasions in 2018" and "losses incurred due to additional aircraft towing requirements and fuel costs, delays, manpower involved, flight cancellation resulting in loss of revenue and taxiing costs".

AirAsia filed the lawsuit because it sees the earlier action brought by MAHB as breaching the 2015 Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) Act.

The law requires that MAHB and airlines need to first mediate any disputes before going to court.

"We maintain that the dispute over airport taxes, which is at the core of MAHB's suit, is specifically a matter subject to Mavcom's purview for mediation and dispute resolution. MAHB is well aware of this and prior to filing the suit, had engaged AirAsia in both oral discussions and written correspondence. However, MAHB has chosen to improperly circumvent the Mavcom Act by filing the suit," Riad Asmat, CEO, AirAsia and Benyamin Ismail, CEO, AirAsia X said in a joint statement.

In December 2018, the state-owned airport operator, which runs 39 airports in Malaysia and Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen, sued the short-haul unit of AirAsia Group for MYR9.4 million ringgits (US$2.2 million) and the long-haul airline for MYR26.7 million ringgits (US$6.4 million) for passenger fees outstanding since July 1, 2018.

AirAsia admitted that it ceased to collect passenger fees from its customers departing on international routes from Kuala Lumpur once Malaysia Airports raised the fee at the low-cost terminal KLIA2 to MYR73 ringgits (US$17.5) for non-ASEAN routes, matching the level at the full-service KLIA1 terminal.

Previously, the fee at KLIA2 was MYR50 ringgits (US$12).

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