AirAsia Bhd is keen to operate and develop the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport at Subang via private financing initiative (PFI) and make it more business driven and competitive regionally.
AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said today the company was prepared to table a fresh proposal to the government seeking its permission to operate the airport.
When asked for his reaction should the government allow this, he said: "Definitely AirAsia will be prepared for that (to operate the Subang Airport via PFI).
"You have PFI roads, PFI power stations as well as many infrastructure projects, why not the airport," he told reporters after the company's annual general meeting here.
Personally, he said, it would be a good idea for the government to allow AirAsia to go into Subang Airport so that subsequently the no-frills airline would address on its own all matters related to the operation and infrastructure of the airport.
AirAsia had, among others, suggested that it too be allowed to operate via Subang just like community airline FireFly, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines.
Yesterday, Air Asia X chairman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan was reported as saying that Malaysia needed a larger low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) soon to accommodate the increasing passenger volume if it wants to become the regional hub for low-cost travel.
Fernandes said the Subang PFI airport operations, apart from attracting more foreign investors to locate their businesses in Malaysia due to easier access to the Federal Capital, will also make it easier for foreigners to come here for medical, education and tourism reasons.
"Let's make Kuala Lumpur a relevant hub. If we are good and become a strong aviation player, there are so many aspects we can cater for, especially in the medical, tourism and education industries," he added.
"It is a fantastic cause-and-effect business. If we have our own airport close to town, it will attract more foreign investors and more visitors to Malaysia."
Fernandes also said that if AirAsia is allowed to operate Subang Airport, the LCCT at Sepang can be converted into a cargo terminal.
Asked on details of AirAsia's plans to impose a baggage charge on passengers to help cushion the impact of higher fuel prices, he said: "That's one of the ideas that I have. I'd rather look at things like that in a more democratic and fairer way. Maybe we will charge between RM1 and RM2 per extra bag.
"I do not know when to implement it, but what I can say is that it may be pretty soon, and I'm sure that once we implement it, MAS will follow us!"
Source : Bernama
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