Malaysian Government advises AirAsia X not to 'disturb' Malaysia Airlines
AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman Rani, stated the carrier has been advised by the Malaysian Government not to "disturb" Malaysia Airlines and concentrate on routes not served by the national carrier (Travel Weekly, 28-Apr-2010). The government reportedly urged the LCC to consider launching services to 34 cities not served by Malaysia Airlines, including Darwin and Pyongyang. The government, meanwhile, advised AirAsia X not to assume that its application to operate to Sydney has not yet been approved because it is protecting MAS (The Star Online, 28-Apr-2010).
AirAsia X: “Does she [Malaysian Tourism Minister] want the planes to fly to key markets or small peripheral markets that we can’t even spell? ... When was the last time you wanted to visit Pyongyang, Peshawar, Darwin, Almaty? This is where we’re supposed to fly … The number of Malaysians going to Sydney via Singapore is growing phenomenally, more than 15% per year. If you are trying to protect Malaysia Airlines, you are going to run out of excuses very soon,” Azran Osman Rani, CEO. Source: Travel Weekly, 28-Apr-2010.
Malaysian Government: “As far as routes are concerned, we cannot please everybody as decisions have to be made according to criteria that is already laid. It is not that we will not consider applications, especially involving home-grown airlines. We take a hard look at all applications for new routes and weigh aspects like passenger load, viability, and whether the market for the new destination is large enough to accommodate two airlines. There are also other criteria we have to consider, including the benefits to the Malaysian economy. Thus, it takes time to reach a decision in some cases. My advise to AirAsia X is that they do not jump the gun and allow us to see if all the criteria are met, as well as let us reach a decision according to the rules and regulations,” Ong Tee Keat, Transport Minister. Source: The Star Online, 28-Apr-2010.