MAHB sets the record straight on news report by The Star
SEPANG- Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) in response to the news published by The Star titled ‘MAHB checkmates AirAsiaX’ on 24 October 2020, clarifies that the filing of its RM78 million suit will not derail AirAsia X’s scheme. Malaysia Airports is pursuing its legal rights to recover the debt from AirAsia X which is critical for the upkeep and maintenance of the airports. The outstanding aeronautical charges comprise regulated charges by the Government including the 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. The exclusion of MASSB in this scheme will neither ‘cripple AirAsia X plans’ nor ‘force AirAsia X to fold’, as claimed in the news report by The Star.
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. The Board of Malaysia Airports has the responsibility to act in the best interest of the company in order to protect its shareholders, the country’s air transport infrastructure and more than 10,000 people nationwide under the company’s employment.
The Star article further insinuated our motive in the article as “One is so that it has the upper hand in dictating the restructuring plan and asking for better terms. The second is to deliver the final nail into AAX, killing it” which is untrue and baseless. We wish to categorically state that under the Part VII of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) act, competition between airlines are regulated. Any intervention by any parties would be monitored and subject to fines by MAVCOM.
We refer to the following statements written in the article that are inaccurate and misleading to the readers:
1. “While AAX may have all the plans to carry out its debt and corporate restructuring, the lawsuit is something that will cripple the plans, which will ultimately force AAX to fold.”
2. “There are two schools of thought as to why MAHB is doing this. One is so that it has the upper hand in dictating the restructuring plan and asking for better terms. The second is to deliver the final nail into AAX, killing it.”
3. “In a legal letter by MAHB’s to AAX’s dated Oct 14, MAHB says it is seeking to challenge AAX’s classification of MAHB as an unsecured creditor, saying that it was a “clear indication” that AAX does not intend to fully settle the amounts owing to MAHB but this was not mentioned in MAHB’s filing with Bursa Malaysia on Thursday.”
4. “There may be no incentive for MAHB to do so, but looking at the bigger picture, the demise of AAX will be a win for Malaysia Airlines Bhd because the latter will no longer have a low-cost competitor. While MAHB and Malaysia Airlines are not related, technically, they are both government owned.”
As was announced to Bursa on 22 October 2020 and 23 October 2020 respectively, we are pursuing our legal rights to recover the debt from AirAsia X. We also note that AirAsia X 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.
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.