'AirAsia played a role in cost overruns and delays'

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) harshest critic, AirAsia Bhd, played a significant part in both cost overruns and delays in the construction of the new RM4 billion low-cost carrier terminal, KLIA2, according to sources familiar with the matter.

NONEIt is noted that MAHB has come under considerable flak as a result of the delay in KLIA2.

Managing director Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid’s (right) contract, which expires on June 7, has yet to be renewed and this results in speculation that he will be taking the fall for the delay.

None of the parties involved - MAHB officials or Bashir, UEM Group and partner Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, which won a RM997 million contract for the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of the main terminal building of KLIA2, a satellite building, sky-bridge and piers and budget airline AirAsia Bhd - came on record for this article.

From news reports, AirAsia’s chief executive officer Aireen Omar said that she was “disappointed” with the latest delay.

“We will work closely with MAHB so that the new launch date can be set for KLIA2...

NONE"It’s not going to be comfortable for passengers as the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) copes with overcapacity,” Aireen (left) said after AirAsia’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.

From this statement, it seems as though AirAsia is distancing itself from MAHB and played no role in the delay, which is not the picture painted by others who had been involved in KLIA2.

Another statement by AirAsia that raised eyebrows was when its officials publicly stated that the budget airline will not move into KLIA2 until it is convinced that the new terminal is “100 percent ready”, and will be staying put at the current LCCT till then.

“It seems as though AirAsia is in a very powerful position... can dictate terms, can control MAHB, (and is able to) spell out what MAHB can and cannot do,” an industry observer commented.

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