MAHB says pursuing its legal rights to recover debt from AirAsia X

“Malaysia Airports is pursuing its legal rights to recover the debt from AAX which is critical for the upkeep and maintenance of the airports, ” MAHB said.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) says its filing of a RM78mil lawsuit against AirAsia X (AAX) will not derail the latter’s debt restructuring scheme.

“Malaysia Airports is pursuing its legal rights to recover the debt from AAX which is critical for the upkeep and maintenance of the airports, ” it said.

The outstanding aeronautical charges comprise regulated charges by the government including passenger service charges (PSC), passenger service security charges, aircraft parking and landing charges, as well as aerobridge charges, check-in counter charges, and late payment charges.

“These monies are to be ploughed back into the business to sustain the operation of the airport and ensuring the service levels continue to be delivered to the passengers.

“Furthermore, the debt owing to us is less than 0.01% from the total debt owed in the scheme, ” it said in a statement.

The airport operator noted that AAX has filed an application for a proposed debt restructuring scheme with its unsecured creditors pursuant to section 366 of the Companies Act 2016.

“Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB) takes the view that it is a secured creditor and thus has applied to be excluded from this scheme. MAHB acknowledged that the aviation industry is facing very challenging and difficult times due to the pandemic.

“All airline companies and airports are facing the same prospect in terms of traffic contraction and loss of revenue. While some airline companies have inevitably collapsed due to the extreme business conditions, airports are facing the same extreme conditions.

“However, closing down the airports is not a conceivable option for the nation.

"Airports are strategic and critical national infrastructure and it has remained operational throughout the pandemic and will have to continue to survive to the best of its ability to serve the public and to ensure the country is not crippled in terms of connectivity, ” it said.

The board of Malaysia Airports has the responsibility to act in the best interest of the company to protect its shareholders, the country’s air transport infrastructure and more than 10,000 people nationwide under the company’s employment, it added.

“We have always treated all our airline partners equally and fairly. Agreeing to any haircut to one airline will set a precedent for the rest. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the importance of AirAsia as a key partner and we shall continue engaging them to find the best solution forward, ” it added.

AAX said in a statement yesterday that the alleged RM78mil outstanding amount was largely made up of the RM23 difference per passenger in PSC which was never collected by the airline.

It added that RM9.2mil of the alleged amount owing is for late payment interest “unilaterally and egregiously” imposed on AAX for the uncollected PSC.

The airline said the RM23 was not collected from passengers based on an announcement by the Transport Ministry that the PSC will be reduced to RM50.

“Furthermore, the increased charges could not be justified for substandard facilities and services which we strongly believe should not be imposed on passengers with higher fares.

“We also like to point out that MAHB has yet to pay agreed incentives owed to AAX estimated at RM7.9mil for 2018 and RM6.9mil for 2019.

"As all travel-related industries are the worst-hit sectors due to these unprecedented challenges, we strongly believe that airlines, airports and other travel-related businesses should work closely together to weather these extremely difficult times, come back stronger and make Malaysia the biggest travel hub in the region, ” said AAX. — Bernama

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