It is disturbing for a significant shareholder of one of the world’s most popular low cost carrier, who is also the most arrogant and manipulative airline personality to take airport GLC MAHB down in his own blog. Especially after his newly appointed CEO Aireen Omar did exactly that so well in her first month in office and Fernandes already got The Star doing half of his battles via the mainstream media instead through proper channels, all these while.
Malaysians need to know.
First of all, KLIA2 is about 250,000 sq metres of state of the art low cost carrier terminal in the world, with an annex mall for passengers’ needs and comfort. The RM 4 billion construction would have 68 aerobridges, a brand new air control tower, more tarmac spaces for aircraft parking space and a third 4,000 metres runaway. There would be ample parking spaces and an attached integrated transportation terminal for coaches, taxis and a station for the ERL extended service, that would run from KL Sentral via Main Terminal Building, KLIA.
It is designed to cater up to 45 million passengers per annum, in comfort, efficiency, security and somewhat, style. And that is at the cost of RM 1,500.00 psf.
Secondly, that is the lowest cost of developing and constructing such an airport facility. If only Fernandes could be so fair and professional enough to make an honest comparison to any airports with equivalent facility that has just been built or in the process of being built. Just for comparison, the 350,000 sq metres Terminal 5 in London Heathrow was built at a cost of £4.2 billion. That is without the cost of a third runaway and second air control tower. Squared of to KLIA’ 2’s size, that is £ 3 billion or in today’s exchange rate, RM 15 billion, which is about RM 4,000 psf. Chek Lap Kok’s intention for a third runaway is estimated to cost USD 1 billion.
Thirdly, let us remind about how Fernandes during the ‘Level Four Boys’ dark-reign of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s weak administration (coincidentally, which provided so much room and opportunity for AirAsia to grow to what it is today at the expense of national carrier Malaysia Airlines with specific instructions such as the ‘Airline Rationalisation Plan’ of May 2006), rode on Sime Darby for the ‘Labu Airport Project’.
Resilience and perseverance, the bloggers were lucky to manage to get the project shot down.
Fourthly, AirAsia was actually an integral part of the working committee for the development of KLIA 2. However, Fernandes played ‘rough and extremely unfair’ to use the media which include mainstream media to go after MAHB when his whims and fancies didn’t actually go how he wanted. That is probably include getting rid of MAHB MD Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid and got himself in, just like how he got Khazanah Holdings Bhd. for the eight-and-three-quarter-months short lived and now miserably failed ‘Malaysia Airlines-AirAsia shareswap’.
Fifthly, Malaysians needed to be reminded that the moment Fernandes got his greedy hands into Malaysia Airlines, he started to devour into the national carrier. A month after his entrance into Malaysia Airlines BOD and as a member of the Exco, he got the national carrier to be suckered of RM 18 million for sponsorship of his private venture into the bottom rung of Barclays Premier League, Queen’s Park Rangers.
Sixth point, is Fernandes actually campaigned for Malaysian public to go against MAHB increase on the airport tax last December, short of starting an ‘Airport Spring’. In fact, they actually smeared MAHB. They even got most popular English daily The Star to do part of their dirty work.
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.
Malaysians needed to be reminded that AirAsia did at one time owe Malaysia Airports RM 106 million for airport taxes collected from passengers, but they did not actually pay up for services they utilized. When MAHB wanted to take them to court, Fernandes actually used his ‘political clout card’ to stop the process.
The seventh point is that when AirAsia first started, Fernandes played the ‘victim’ card the rubbished Malaysia Airlines every opportunity he could. That is not withstanding that Malaysia Airlines extended a lot of professional courtesy when they didn’t have too. An immediate example is that this uncouth behaviour made Malaysia Airlines under Idris Jala withdrew inter-airline privilege to Fernandes where the latter could enjoy First Class on Malaysia Airlines at discounted rate.
Then when many Malaysians are convinced that AirAsia is the ‘victim’ and Malaysia Airlines is the ‘evil’, Fernandes trained his guns towards Malaysia Airports. All these consistent ‘demonisation’and rubbishing via ‘playing the victim card’ is no different against Oppositions’ strategy of ‘Politics of Hatred’.
The eighth point is that even though more air travelers prefer low cost and cheaper alternatives to premium air service, that doesn’t mean they want lesser comfort, security and/or amenities. The growth in the demand for these operations only will result to cheaper travels (provided that fuel prices doesn’t go up substantially) where the demand for airport and ground handling operations must correspond to the growth of traffic. Thus, better airport terminals would be required to handle the demand and maintain efficiency.
The ninth point is that Malaysians must know that when Air Asia was sitting with the MAHB team to develop the KLIA 2, they actually wanted a single level terminal and did not want a fully automated baggage carousel system and aerobridge. All of these are necessary for passengers’ comfort, security and airport operations and ground handling efficiency. Especially if they are handling 80% of 68 pier contact points at any one time and making the 45 million passengers per annum operation a reality.
Managing 125, 000 passengers and an average of 20kgs of baggages per passengers require an efficient and fully automated system. That was what KLIA2 was designed towards.
The tenth point is that if Fernandes wants to move AirAsia operations to Jakarta, then it is his prerogative. This is the second time he had this ‘threat’. The first was April last year. The demand for low cost carrier would still be healthy even AirAsia moved its operation elsewhere and KLIA now becomes a service destination instead of a hub. In fact, the void left by AirAsia could be filled by Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airline’s own low cost carrier (which Fernandes tried to hard to ‘kill’) FireFly and a third option, liberalize the market and allow for more homegrown low cost carriers to serve domestic and regional routes. Presently, Firefly already started serving PEN-KBR and JHB-KBR routes and making a comeback in certain popular sectors. Then market would get the best and consumers would not settle for “Second best”, if taking Fernandes’s antics all these while into consideration.
Our eleventh point is that AirAsia was taken to court by Australian regulators for failing to make good of its promises, which is actually false and hidden advertising.
Australian regulator files lawsuit against AirAsia
AirAsia was slapped with a lawsuit by Australian regulators accusing the Asian budget carrier of failing to disclose the full price of fares on its website.
The Malaysia-based airline, which flies international services out of Australia from the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth, with Sydney to be added from April, was named in documents lodged at the Federal Court in Melbourne on Tuesday.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the country’s consumer watchdog, claims some fares sold on AirAsia’s website do not display prices inclusive of all taxes, duties, fees and other charges.
“Businesses that choose to advertise a part of the price of a particular product or service must also prominently specify a single total price,” it said in a media release.
The regulator alleged the fares relate to flights from Melbourne to cities including London, New Delhi, and Hangzhou in China, from the Gold Coast to Ho Chi Minh City and from Perth to places such as Taipei and Phuket in Thailand.
The matter is listed to be heard on March 2 with the watchdog seeking an injunction “to restrain AirAsia from engaging in misleading conduct in the future”.
It also wants a court order “that AirAsia publish corrective notices on its websites regarding the conduct”.
AirAsia could not immediately be reached for comment.
The twelfth point is that all Fernandes’s antics should be lumped into one basket and him and his ventures be taken in a bigger picture perspective. When the directive for the ‘Airline Rationalisation Plan’ of May 2006 was issued, Malaysia Airlines had to surrender most of the domestic routes between Semenanjung, Sabah and Sarawak to AirAsia. Part of that is the Rural Air Service, which Fernandes created FAX to serve the national service. FAX not only cannibalised these services, they took the RM 50 million subsidy and did not deliver. After serious Sabah and Sarawak Governments’ complaints, Federal Government asked Malaysia Airlines to take it back.
All these routes and operations were used to expand market confidence for AirAsia, which it used to expand regional operations and finance for the ambitious A320 acquisitions. After the RAS was taken away, Fernandes used FAX to launch the AIr Asia X where Fernandes wanted to compete for Malaysia Airline’s intercontinental destinations. Part of the original deal for Air Asia was the low cost carrier is allowed to grow and serve destinations and routes previously not served by Malaysia Airlines, be it domestic, regional or international. The greed sets in and AAX set to go for lucrative Malaysia Airlines routes such as London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and Jeddah.
The thirteenth point is that Fernandes ventures had not always been without manipulation. Case in point is his Formula 1 team, which he wanted to dub as ‘1 Malaysia Team’ and later ‘Lotus’. After a legal battle, Fernandes had to settle to call his below average Formula 1 team as ‘Caterham’.
The fourteenth point is that after failing to get his ‘Labu Airport’ Fernandes, tried to get Penang International Airport as his low cost carrier hub. That failed too. Ii is believed that they are trying to ride on Perak State Government and get his dedicated low cost carrier airport built in somewhere in north Perak.
Our Fifteenth point is that if Fernandes could in the past had no qualms what so ever to consistently rubbish GLCs like Malaysia Airlines and MAHB to Malaysians using mainstream media, the ‘Thirteen Million Plus Ringgit” question is would he done the same when he got AirAsia nestled elsewhere outside the country?
After all, he created the impression in the minds of many that Air Asia today was about his and his team’s handwork and ingenious thinking and other people, especially those who did more than that they were willing to do, were made expendable of and those who were stepped on for Fernandes to achieve his goals, are not part of his success story.
Malaysians need to all these. Fernandes is a marketing man. He understand business psychology. He also understand the power of media and he made no qualms about manipulation facts via mainstream media to achieve his objectives. That is by far, as the British call it ‘sportsmanship’ or ‘fair play’. Probably in his years in England, Fernandes didn’t actually get to play rugby; a barbaric game played by gentlemen. Likely, he didn’t get to play cricket too.
That’s is most probably why we saw and still seeing all these low class gluttony-games on play.