The Terminal 1 of Kota Kinabalu International Airport cost the nation RM1.5 billion. It was opened for operations on 19-8-2008 while enhancement and expansion of Terminal 1 was completed in 2011. Despite these developments, AirAsia had been dictating terms to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and/or Government and has refused to move to Terminal 1 as directed.
PM YAB Dato’ Seri Najib had to chair the Economic Council (EC) in 2012 and 2013 and the EC had decided all airlines had to move from Kota Kinablu International Airport Terminal 2 to Terminal 1.
Of course, the recalcitrant AirAsia was as defiance as it was when MAB gave notice for it to move to KLIA2. AirAsia used all kinds of reasons to the extend of citing safety reasons and lobbying the PM to delay the move from LCCT to KLIA-2. Fortunately, on 5-4-2014 YAB PM was firm that AirAsia must move move, HERE.
On 3-1-2015 Cebu Pacific Air had totally moved all its offices from Terminal 2 to 1 but AirAsia had requested for time to complete the “renovation of its offices” at Terminal 1, HERE.
It has been five months now and there is no sign of AirAsia having completed the said “renovation”. It would appear from the comments of AirAsia’s officer that the said “renovation work” was not the real reason for delaying the move Terminal 2 to 1.
AirAsia wanted MAHB and/or the Government to accommodate its business model without taking into consideration the the additional costs of having two sets of custom officers, immigration officers, police officers, aviation control officers, general workers to upkeep Terminal 2 where it is currently operating from. More importantly AirAsia has refused to consider the inconveniences caused to the travelers and tourists because of their defiance. Yours truly will produce the relevant press reports of the AirAsia’s comments below.
It is about time that the Minister of Transport put the welfare of the travelers and tourists above those of AirAsia.
The appalling conditions at Terminal 2 and its attendant traffic problems have also caused passengers to miss their connecting flights because they were unable to reach Terminal 1 on time.
It is a glaring fact that Terminal 2 is badly congested and lack of adequate facilities. Terminal 1 on the other hand has all the facilities for the convenience of tourists. To allow AirAsia to put its business model above the interest and convenience of tourist is not in our national interests. Not only not has this move proved to be NOT cost effective, it has also put Sabah and ultimately Malaysia, in a bad light.
It can not be good for tourism in Malaysia if foreign tourists, upon setting foot in Malaysia, have to put up with bad facilities at Terminal 2 especially when we have modern Terminal 1, with its aerobridge and other state of the art facilities that other airports in the region also offer.
The Real Reason
On 20-2-2014 AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernades had threatened to take his business somewhere else if the low cost airline is forced to shift its operations from Terminal 2 of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to Terminal 1. His main complaints was because of the Passenger Service Charge (PSC) /Airport Tax had been fixed at RM65 per passengers. He raised this argument as though it was he and/or AirAsia that was paying the PSC when it is the passenger that is paying for the PSC. Please read HERE.
Prior to the PSC was increased to RM65, Tony Fernandes, the Group CEO of AirAsia had been quoted to have said that
I will chain myself and the FRU (Federal Reserve Unit) has to take us, he quipped. “Forcing us to KKIA’s main terminal will mean our current airport tax of RM25 per passenger will have to be increased to RM51 because of the aerobridge and other facilities and this will mean more flights will be cancelled.” To what arrogance need one be!
On 15-1-2015 it was reported in the press that AirAsia’s CEO Aireen Omar was attempting to dictate terms to MAB and/or the Government in regards to PSC/Airport Tax that AirAsia said must be reduced. It was reported that the PSC/Airport Tax at Terminal 1 would be RM65 per person for international flights, compared with RM32 at Terminal 2. Last month, AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Aireen Omar said the airline would only move its operation to Terminal 1 when it had a “win-win agreement” with MAHB.
“All airline operating here (Terminal 1) will have the same charge. If we agree with AirAsia’s request, it would not be fair for other airlines,” said an officer from MAHB. Eleven airlines are operating from Terminal 1, including Cebu Pacific Air, which shifted its operation on Jan 3. Terminal 2 began operating as a temporary airport on Oct 20, 2002, as upgrading and reconstructing works here taking place at Terminal 1, HERE.
If eleven other airlines have shifted its operations to Terminal 1 without objection about PSC/Airport Tax of RM65 for international passengers and RM32 for domestic, why must AirAsia be allowed to stay put in Terminal 2?
While AirAsia was objecting to the use of aerobridge, the high PSC and etc in Malaysia, it did not object to the higher PSC/Airport Tax imposed by other airport authorities. AirAsia dutifully paid over the PSC/Airport Tax that it had collected to the airport authoritiis in other countries because if AirAsia did not pay up the PSC/Airport Tax, the airline would have been denied the use of airport facilities.
From the press report, it would appear as though AirAsia was paying for the PSC/Airport Tax. In fact, the passengers are paying for the PSC/Airport Tax, which are collected by AirAsia and to be handed over to MAB within a stipulated time. Strictly speaking by not handing over the PSC/Airport Tax that were collected from the passengers, it is a case of breach of trust.
Unfortunately, AirAsia had not been making up to date payments of the collected PSC/Airport Tax to MAHB. Reliable sources have confirmed that the AirAsia’s PSC/Airport Tax debt with MAHB has reached a shocking sum of more than RM50 million. Please read HERE.
Despite the shocking PSC/Airport Tax debt of more than RM50 million, MAHB and/or YB Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, the Minister of Transport are not taking any immediate actions to withdraw all airport facilities from AirAsia full settlement of the said PSC/Airport Tax debt.
In regard to the issue of AirAsia’s shifting to Terminal 1, YB Datuk Liow, is putting up with AirAsia’s unreasonable behaviour of not shifting to Terminal 1. The government and ultimately the rakyat, is continuing to absorb unnecessary additional costs of having customs and immigration officers, including police personel, aviation officers and general workers on Terminal 2 because one recalcitrant low cost airline refuses to budge.
On 22-2-2015 YB Datuk Liow Tiong Lai had said “The talks are still ongoing and are already in the final stage.” He also said that by moving the operations to the KKIA main terminal, the problem of passenger congestion at Terminal 2 would be resolved, making it more comfortable for the passengers, HERE.
For the sake of the country image and tourism of Malaysia, MAB and YB Datuk Liow Tiong Lai must take immediate actions to compel AirAsia to shift to Terminal 1 without further delay.