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Friday February 13, 2009

MAHB and AirAsia are negotiating to sort things out, says Tee Keat

KUALA LUMPUR: Discussions are still ongoing between Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) and AirAsia on a new permanent low-cost carrier terminal, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

“MAHB and AirAsia are negotiating to sort things out because at the end of the day, there should be some kind of synergy between the two parties,’’ he said.

“It is only right for us to emphasise on synergy. As it is now, discussions are still in pro­gress.’’

Ong was speaking to reporters at the media briefing of the Malaysia Airports Financial Restructuring Plan.

MAHB has already identified a site for a permanent LCCT near the main terminal at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in line with the National Airport Masterplan and to allow optimisation of resources like runways, control towers and transportation infrastructure.

AirAsia had proposed to build a new RM1.6bil airport named KLIA-East@Labu with Sime Darby Berhad, but the Government has put the proposal on hold.

AirAsia chief executive Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the issue should be resolved quickly to cater to the increasing number of budget travellers.

“The quicker it is resolved, the better. We have got to move. I think every effort is being done to resolve it quickly,” he said yesterday after launching the airline’s “Pick A Seat” product, which allows passengers to choose their seats.

He said he would leave it to the Government to decide on the now-postponed KLIA-East@Labu pro­ject.

Ong said the plan to build a permanent LCCT in KLIA was mooted in 2007.

“The plan to build one in Labu was submitted by the Economic Planning Unit and not the Transport Ministry.

“If the proposal (for LCCT in Labu) is cancelled, it has to be referred back to the Cabinet but so far we haven’t come to that yet,’’ he said, adding that any new airport initiative must follow certain guidelines set by the ministry.

The guidelines include addressing issues involving air traffic control and inter-terminal connectivity.

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