AirAsia Bhd, Southeast Asia's largest budget carrier, is asking the Kuala Lumpur airport operator for 409 million ringgit (US$107 million) to cover losses and damages the airline says it
suffered using the new and old budget terminals.
In a letter to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, AirAsia last week demanded payment from the airport operator and a subsidiary, claiming they breached their duties at the airport.
The letter claims problems at the new KLIA2 terminal have hurt the airline's reputation, "as the public perception is that the failings of the facilities are within the control of AirAsia" as KLIA2's largest user.
The 4 billion ringgit (US$1.05 billion) terminal, which opened in May 2014, is sinking, causing cracks in the taxiways and pools of water that planes must drive through, Bloomberg News earlier reported. AirAsia says the defects could cause flight delays, increase wear and tear on planes and pose safety risks.
Though take offs and landings aren't affected as yet, the carrier has asked Malaysian authorities to fix the problems before passengers get hurt, AirAsia's Chief Executive Officer Aireen Omar said. "The operator "has done some partial resurfacing, but what the airport actually needs is a permanent solution. The airport is still sinking," Aireen said.
Construction expenses for KLIA2, as the new terminal is known, which commenced in 2009, rose from an initial estimate of about 1.7 billion ringgit (US$444.6 million) to 4 billion ringgit (US$1.05 billion). At 257,000 square metres, KLIA2 can handle 45 million passengers, with the potential to expand.
Malaysia Airports said it is addressing the issue by resurfacing problem areas and injecting polyurethane under the ground. A concrete slab to be completed by April would provide a more permanent fix, the airport said.
Nol van Fenema