“While AirAsia, the home-grown carrier, has been the principal driver for this (low-cost travel) growth, the Malaysian government along with MAHB have both played crucial roles as enablers by fully supporting low-cost travel for the benefit of all Malaysians.
“This not only emphasises our commitment and support for low-cost travel, but more so our conviction that this will take us to the next level of growth in air travel demand,” the airport operator said in a statement.
MAHB said it had provided not just the necessary infrastructure but also incentives programmes since 2002 that benefited AirAsia.
The incentives included the Infancy Support Programme (2002-2007) and Enhanced Incentive Programme (2007-2009), which were given exclusively to AirAsia, it said.
Subsequently, MAHB implemented three other incentive programmes such as the Airlines Recovery Plan to assist airlines to recover from the global financial crisis between 2009 and 2011.
“Up until 2017, the AirAsia group had benefited to the tune of RM376mil from the incentive programmes, in tandem with the significant growth the airline had enjoyed,” it added.
MAHB said low-cost travel constituted 25% and 50% of total travel in Asia and Malaysia respectively, and these percentages were expected to increase.
“The AirAsia group, as the country's major low-cost travel operator, experienced a compound annual growth rate of 11.6% over the last decade,” it noted.
It described klia2 as "the ultimate embodiment of MAHB's pro-growth approach” to support and enable the national growth of low-cost travel.
In developing the terminal, the company said it not only took into consideration the significant evolution of the low-cost carrier business model but also catered to any anticipated changes that might occur in the coming decades.
“Any new airport infrastructure must be enduring in its design and capacity to ensure that it can cater to the ever-changing variants of airline business models so that it is able to cater for long-term growth and effectively meet the needs of all its stakeholders,” it added.
Last year, AirAsia refuted MAHB's claim that it received special treatment or tailor-made incentives from the airport operator. - Bernama