New Straits Times
Extra Bangalore flights for Malindo unfair, says AirAsia
Mavcom: AirAsia already biggest beneficiary of new capacity
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.