Tony Fernandes & Airport Labu ~ Malaysiakini

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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Dan dalam isu pembinaan KLIA East @ Labu Airport, CEO Air Asia Tony Fernandes akhirnya telah bersuara ...

When AirAsia started, we had two major handicaps. We were competing against a subsidised airline that receives subsidies on their domestic (routes) which range from RM400 million to RM600 million a year. It’s very hard to compete. In the early days, (the global) oil price was US$30, so it was okay. But (the) oil (price) began to creep up. I fought for a level playing-field - remove the domestic subsidies.

In August, it was removed. We had gone to see everybody and all cabinet members and a lot of MPs. We did briefing sessions with MPs to show our situation. Part of that deal was that they gave us the rural air services, which was not (what) we wanted.

I don’t see how anyone can say that (removal of subsidies) is wrong for the country. Taxpayers (now) don’t subsidise MAS. In fact, MAS has become profitable since the subsidy was removed and is competing with us on everything. That’s fair.

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