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Showdown talks soon over KLIA2 rebranding

Showdown talks are expected to be held soon among Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), the Transport Ministry and AirAsia Bhd over the rebranding of the KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2).

MAHB managing director Badlisham Ghazali said the airport operator is open for discussion on the matter to achieve a common goal - the growth of Malaysia’s aviation industry.

AirAsia and MAHB has been locking horns recently following the low-cost carrier’s insistence on going ahead with its promotional campaign to refer to KLIA2 as LCCT2.

MAHB and Transport Minister Liow Tiong had said that KLIA2 is the registered name of the airport under the International Air Transport Association.

“It is unnecessary to drag this out in public. I think all three parties want the same thing which is growth for the aviation industry.

“MAHB is open to discussion on this issue as soon as possible. We do often meet to discuss how to promote the country and attract more carriers into the country,” said Badlisham when met by reporters after the launch of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ additional flights from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam at KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang today.

Badlisham said MAHB and AirAsia know very well that the KLIA2 name cannot be changed and it would be also a violation of international aviation laws to do so.

“There is freedom of speech, but it does not help in terms of promoting the facilities and the country. Even the transport minister (Liow Tiong Lai) has said there is no change to KLIA2, and we hope all partners and airlines follow,” he said.

Asked on AirAsia’s claims it has not obtained enough support from MAHB, Badlisham said it is incorrect to say so as both Malaysia Airports and the government are fully supportive of airlines especially AirAsia to help them grow the over the last 10 years.

On the possibility of AirAsia building its own low-cost carrier airport, he said: “KLIA2 has been built to accommodate up to 45 million passengers annually and we are committed to building a third runway to support the growth of the airline.”

Asked if the aiport operator is concerned if AirAsia does not operate from KLIA2, Badlisham said: “We cannot dictate what AirAsia wants to do. It is their business decision. But we will continuously welcome all carriers.”

- Bernama

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