AirAsia has said it will still operate from Kuala Lumpur’s Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) after 9 May 2014 – the date the facility is due to close.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, AirAsia called the transfer plan to KLIA 2 “overly-optimistic” and Malaysian unit’s CEO Aireen Omer said the low-cost carrier would only move the new airport after all issues have been addressed.
In response to the announcement by Malaysia’s deputy transport minister, Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, who said on Monday that the LCCT would close on 9 May, AirAsia said that “all AirAsia and AirAsia X operations will still be based at the current LCC Terminal even after 9th May due to a number of unresolved pressing issues that still need to be addressed”.
It highlighted problems with KLIA 2, including depressions on the taxiways, aprons and runways, which were mentioned in a recent report into the airport’s readiness.
“This will prove to be operationally disruptive to a hub airline such as AirAsia Group which has about 400 aircraft movements in a day and at least 70 aircraft in its fleet in LCCT,” the LCC said. “We believe it is crucial to ensure that whole remedial steps are undertaken prior to a transfer, which will mitigate risks relating to any potential aviation incidents.”
The airline also highlighted the transfer of operations from KLIA to the LCCT in 2006, which “took longer than two months, when AirAsia’s operations were significantly smaller”.
“The move to KLIA2 is imminent, however it will only be carried out after all issues are addressed. We appeal to the Prime Minister… for a fully functional airport where we can continue to work hard to make flying affordable for over 20 million Malaysians who have benefited from the low-cost carrier business model,” Ms Omar said.
“We have addressed the above issues to MAHB (Malaysia’s state-run airport operator) and relevant authorities. AirAsia will be making an official announcement and inform all of its guests once we are ready to proceed with the move to KLIA 2,” she added.
Both AirAsia and AirAsia X currently operate flights at the LCCT. Other LCCT operators including Tigerair, Malindo Air and Cebu Pacific have already committed to moving to KLIA 2.
The opening of new airport was originally due to open in May 2013, but the launch was delayed for a year due to construction issues.