AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes behaviour and arrogance is getting very uncouth and overbearing. His incessant morbid and rabid gnarls against Ministry of Transport and Malaysia Airports (MAHB) is getting too far fetched. His blatant gross disregard against civil servants are becoming exactly like the Opposition. Earlier last week, he lambasted the Chief Secretary of MOT Dato’ Loong See Wool in social media.
Then, in a campaign against MAHB’s increase of airport tax, Fernandes did the sticker thing at AirAsia’s home for the past six year, the low cost carrier terminal (LCCT).
Friday December 2, 2011
AirAsia: Stop harassing our staff
By WONG PEK MEI
The company’s commercial director Jasmine Lee claimed MAHB had told airline staff to remove the “Say No to Airport Tax Increase” stickers on their uniform. She claimed that the airport operator also removed posters at their sales counters at LCCT.
“They even went to the check-in counters and told our staff not to wear the stickers and to stop sticking them on passengers’ boarding passes.
“We have sent an official warning letter to request that MAHB’s officers stop unlawfully obstructing our staff from doing their jobs,” she said, adding that the incident occurred from around 10am until lunchtime yesterday.
AirAsia is protesting against the decision by MAHB to increase the airport tax by RM7 and RM14 at five airports nationwide which took effect yesterday.
The airports are Langkawi International Airport, Penang International Airport, Kuching International Airport, Terminal 2, Kota Kinabalu International Airport and the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) at KLIA.
Lee also alleged that MAHB confiscated security tags from some staff working in restricted areas.
“This incident will not deter us. We will continue to wear the stickers tomorrow and will put back the posters,” she said.
AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes later tweeted: “Malaysian airport staff tearing down our posters and taking away airport passes of our staff. And using intimidation. Can someone tell them this is Malaysia and not a police state.”
MAHB senior general manager for operations Datuk Azmi Murad, who was present during the incident, denied any harassment or intimidation took place but admitted they removed the posters.
“They were putting the posters in public areas and we took them down. Imagine if anyone could just walk in and start putting posters everywhere,” he said.
AirAsia has taken a full-page advertisement in The Star, urging the public to call MAHB and give their opinion on the increase in airport tax.
“AirAsia views this increase as not justified as the current airport facilities are not up to par,” said the advertisement.
Fernandes is a GLC director now, after successfully getting Khazanah Holdings Bhd conned into a ‘share swap’ deal on 9 August. He was appointed non executive non independent director. He also managed to get Khazanah to appoint him into the ‘Executive Committee’.
Then within a few short weeks, he got Malaysia Airlines to pay RM 18 million worth of home games t-shirt sponsorship for his private venture in Queen’s Park Rangers.
This blatant disregard for authority, using conniving sophisticated marketing approach for consumers to hate Malaysia Airports for the airport tax increase is really low. MAHB justified for their increase in airport tax, since there had been no increase since 19 years ago. What Fernandes conveniently did not tell his customers is that AirAsia was a company build on direct subsidies, when their first three years of operation in LCCT was waived for landing and parking charges.
What Fernandes also did not tell is that when the ‘charges holiday’ was over and he needed to pay, he did not pay his dues on time. In fact, at one point of time he owed MAHB for RM 106 million in arrears. When MAHB went after him for the charges, he ran to the political masters for sanctuary, on the pretext of his contribution to the Malaysian economy with the number of tourists his low cost carrier flew in.
Eventually when he was cornered, he insisted that AirAsia be given a discount. Not just a discount but a substantial figure and percentage from what AirAsia owed. He made no qualms about being ungrateful to MAHB, which allowed so much room and consideration for AirAsia to grow and expand to its current position, even market.
Monies collected by MAHB either in aerospace charges or airport taxes are meant for revenues to the GLC. These revenues would be subjected to income tax and other excise duties. More importantly, these would eventually be accumulated into funds, which would be used to finance projects such as the KLIA2 complex. MAHB would also use the same funds to upgrade all the other airports since profits from airports like KLIA is used to cross subsidize other smaller airports, mainly for the comfort and benefit of Malaysians at large.
MAHB under CEO Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid made reasonably healthy profits and maintained good cash position with a triple A rating that the RM 3.9 billion 257,000 sq metres brand new terminal complex with 68 aerobridges and gates are funded with borrowings, without Federal Government’s injection.
MAHB justified their decision to expand the initial suggestion of 150,000 sq metres low cost carrier complex replacement to the existing LCCT. The growth projected coupled with forecasted demands of air travelers which include low cost carriers is translated to the forward planning seen in the KLIA2. The new complex also would be a ‘Blue Ocean’ strategy for KLIA to be a regional low cost carrier and premium airlines hub, being distinct from other airports in the region.
Even the third runaway, which would complement current runaways 32R and 32L is being manipulated by Fernandes for his case to demoes MAHB. Its 3,960 metre length enable it to cater for the A380s. Natirally, the extra runaway would cater for AirAsia’s need for a fast turnaround, which is a major key success factor in their operations. Fernandes chose to dis-educate his supporters which his strong opposition of the third runaway by conveniently not mentioning how the other major regional hubs are heading towards.
Fernandes morbid attack on the airport tax is without him making the responsible comparison against the closest hub to KLIA, which is SIngapore. Airport taxes for Changi and Seletar are SGD 28.00 and 18.00 respectively. Even with the RM 7.00 increase for international flights, the airport tax for KLIA2 is 40% cheaper that what low cost carriers in Seletar is made to pay.
Earlier, Fernandes seemed to be ‘shitting where he eats’ as KLIA2 as all AirAsia group would be low cost carriers which benefitted the most from extension to KLIA and expanding the capacity unto 45 million non premium airline travelers. However, it is fast becoming far worse than that.
Staging an opposition against a GLC in how he is getting the passengers to participate, is almost like inciting hate against the authority. Fernandes is sending unconscious messages for Malaysian to go against the authority, in a rebellious tone. That is should be considered as ‘corporate anarchy’.
Fernandes has been going after Malaysia Airports consistently since his failed bid for the dedicated low cost carrier airport in Labu, shot down exactly three years ago. He has never stop from harbouring the wet dream of his own airport. Now, he is demonising MAHB CEO Bashir Ahmad in his bid to go after the airport business, the terrorist way.
Why Khazanah Managing Director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar tolerated and is allowing all these ‘corporate anarchy’ behaviour by Fernandes is really baffling. Probably, when directors in other GLCs get the consumers to go against the corporatised onetime government services and companies then only they would realise the severity of this. Soon, persons like Fernandes would export their ‘corporate anarchy’ and uprising aka ‘Airport Spring’ abroad and shame the nation.
Probably Fernandes would eventually be remembered for his ‘Airport Spring’ when passengers in other airports revolt against taxes and what ever charges they not interested to pay, even though the refusal is not justified. Viva la revolucion, comrade Che’ Fernandes.