Ex­tra Ban­ga­lore flights for Malindo un­fair, says AirAsia

Mav­com: AirAsia al­ready big­gest ben­e­fi­ciary of new ca­pac­ity

New Straits Times - - Business - LIDIANA ROSLI KUALA LUMPUR lidiana@nst.com.my

AIRASIA Group is puz­zled by the Malaysian Avi­a­tion Com­mis­sion’s (Mav­com) de­ci­sion to award Malindo Air­ways Sdn Bhd two ad­di­tional flights to Ban­ga­lore, In­dia, claim­ing that it was the one that had fought hard for the rights.

AirAsia X group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) Datuk Ka­marudin Mer­a­nun said Mav­com had never given a proper ex­pla­na­tion on why the two ad­di­tional flights were given to Malindo, which it had not utilised as of last month.

“AirAsia Group, rep­re­sented by my­self, AirAsia Bhd CEO Aireen Omar and AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Is­mail all went to In­dia back in April as part of Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak’s trade del­e­ga­tion.

“To­gether with the as­sis­tance of the del­e­ga­tion, we ne­go­ti­ated for two ex­tra routes to Ban­ga­lore in In­dia. At that point, AirAsia has al­ready been flying into Ban­glore four times a week and we wanted to in­crease that to six times a week to strengthen our po­si­tion there. It was a dif­fi­cult fight in get­ting that two ex­tra routes but we did it in the end,” he said af­ter the launch of AirAsia X Bhd’s Kuala Lumpur-Jaipur di­rect flight, here, yes­ter­day.

How­ever, af­ter the trade del­e­ga­tion re­turned to Malaysia, the de­ci­sion on which air­line would ben­e­fit from the two ad­di­tional flights was handed to Mav­com.

Ac­cord­ing to Ka­marudin, the com­mis­sion then awarded the rights to Malindo.

Nei­ther Mav­com nor Malindo was present dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, he added.

“We un­der­stand that Mav­com would want to give equal rights to all Malaysian car­ri­ers. But it has to make com­mer­cial sense as well. We are al­ready flying four times (into Ban­ga­lore) and we could have make it to six flights.

“But they gave it to an­other car­rier to fly into Ban­glore and Malindo isn’t even util­is­ing it. My guess is the rea­son why Malindo haven’t utilised it is be­cause it doesn’t make any com­mer­cial sense to fly into des­ti­na­tions for only two times a week. I re­ally don’t un­der­stand why it was not given to us,” he said.

Go­ing for­ward, Ka­marud­din stressed that In­dia would re­main the group’s fo­cus mar­ket.

“Take a map of In­dia and throw a stone on any des­ti­na­tion, and it will be lu­cra­tive. That is how pos­i­tive we are on In­dia,” he said. did not be­gin op­er­a­tions (on the said given route).

Since March last year, lo­cal air­lines had sur­ren­dered 38 routes back to Mav­com, it added.

High Com­mi­sion of In­dia First Sec­re­tary (Com­merce) Bramha Ku­mar (third from left), AirAsia X group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Ka­marudin Mer­a­nun (fourth from left), ad­viser to Malaysian In­dian Busi­ness Coun­cil Tan Sri Ajit Singh (cen­tre) and AirAsia...

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