AirAsia’s Fernandes slams Malaysia terminal cost
KUALA LUMPUR—AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes has slammed Malaysian airport authorities after they announced costs for a new low-cost carrier terminal would double and it would be delayed by more than a year.
The maverick head of the budget airline said in a Twitter post seen Wednesday that Malaysia Airports Holdings was the “worst-run Malaysian company.”
Malaysia Airports said in a press release that the new terminal near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and known as klia2 will be “the world’s largest purpose-built terminal for low-cost carriers.”
The company said the terminal, whose main tenant is Malaysia-based AirAsia, will be bigger than originally announced and will have fully automated baggage handling systems to cater for 45 million passengers a year.
“klia2 has been significantly upgraded with superior facilities compared to the original design to be a more passenger-friendly terminal,” the company said in its statement Tuesday.
But because of the “enhancements,” costs are expected to reach up to 3.9 billion ringgit ($1.2 billion), up from an initial 2.0 billion ringgit, and the airport is targeted to start operations in April 2013 instead of being completed by the third quarter of 2011.
Malaysia Airports said it had engaged AirAsia “throughout the development process.” But Fernandes called the costs “whopping” in another Tweet and predicted further expenses.
“Full of empty promises,” Fernandes wrote. “30 million passengers is already one of the largest terminals in the world… Now suddenly 45 million passengers.”
Fernandes is frequently at odds with the airport management company. In 2009, AirAsia unveiled plans to shift to its own airport as frustrations rose over its shabby and overcrowded terminal. But the government vetoed the plan.
AirAsia has become one of the airline industry’s biggest success stories after Fernandes, a former music industry executive, acquired the then-failing company a decade ago.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=32959