Corporate, Featured and Exclusive  |  FEBRUARY 19, 2014 7:31AM

AirAsia boss gloats over MAS losses

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Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) damning losses of more than RM1 billion in its 2013 financial year has given rival AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes reason to gloat.

Tony Fernandes

Tony Fernandes

In a series of Twitter posts, Fernandes said MAS has suffered massive losses despite government support, unlike his budget airline AirAsia.

On top of that, he said, AirAsia has done “amazing” despite “roadblocks” placed by agencies like Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, by way of higher airport fees.

‘AirAsia Allstars, take a bow. Malaysia Airlines lost over a billion. Malaysia Airports (Holdings Bhd) delay(ed) terminal by three years. Yet still great results,’ he tweeted, referring to the AirAsia team.

‘I wonder if it’s fair that Malaysia Airlines can lose so much money and protect its market share. Can only do that with taxpayers money.

‘And while Malaysia Airports spends double what it should. Imagine if it spent what it originally said, airport tax could have been lowered.’

AirAsia has been at loggerheads with Malaysia Airports over the further delay in opening the KLIA2 low-cost carrier terminal. AirAsia claims that it could have built the terminal at a lower cost and completed it at a faster rate.

‘Higher airport tax in Kota Kinabalu?’

Continuing his rant against the airport operator, Fernandes tweeted that no support has been given to the Kota Kinabalu low-cost terminal, Terminal 2.

Instead, Malaysia Airports has insisted that AirAsia move to Terminal 1 – a decision which could double airport fees and affect the budget carrier’s ticket prices, he said.

This is despite AirAsia being a precursor for “booming” tourism in Sabah.

‘If we move, Sabahans have to pay double airport tax. Makes toll rise look like a walk in the park. So we fight. So that sabahans can dream,’ reads his tweet.

‘We have allowed Sabahans to fly to places they never dreamt before be through low fares. And having a low cost terminal.’

MAS-malaysia-airlines-thumb-v3MAS yesterday announced that its losses have deepened to a whopping RM1.2 billion.

But it plans to purchase up to 100 Airbus and Boeing passenger aircrafts in a turnaround effort, and is awaiting government approval.

MAS and AirAsia’s controversial share-swap deal in 2011 unravelled in 2012.

Although Fernandes later said he was “glad” that the deal was unwound, critics said the deal had mostly benefited AirAsia rather than the already flailing MAS.

Among others, AirAsia benefited from reduced competition when MAS’ budget airline Firefly cut several routes.

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