Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Deserving Apology To MASwings

Hantu Laut

When I wrote 'MAS and MASwings,Shame On You' I based my information on what was reported in the mainstream media and concluded that MASwings tried to muscle its way using its status to monopolise the Sibu-KK air route without knowing the history that gives RAS (Rural Air Services) exclusivity (inherited from FAX, an Air Asia subsidiary) to MASwings.Sibu is included in the RAS.

The Managing Director Encik Mohd Salleh Tabrani of MASwings has kindly clarified the case and it would be rude on my part if I do not bring it to light.

Below is his response

Anonymous Malaysia Airlines said...

Hi Hantu Laut, everyone,

I'd like to take this opportunity to comment on this conversation, and to help clarify the situation revolving around the Kota Kinabalu-Sibu route.

The Kota Kinabalu-Sibu route is exclusive to the operator of Rural Air Services (RAS) because AirAsia had in fact requested for routes exclusivity when its subsidiary, FAX operated the RAS.

This took place during the domestic rationalisation exercise of March 2006, and AirAsia demanded for exclusive rights to almost all of the air routes within and intra Sabah and Sarawak, which naturally included the Kota Kinabalu-Sibu route. Only AirAsia's subsidiary, FAX had the exclusive rights to ply these routes.

Therefore, we were following the RAS Agreement that is in place, and allegations of us forcing AirAsia out of the KK-Sibu route is in fact untrue. In addition, it should also be pointed out that AirAsia is bound by the RAS Agreement and as such, cannot fly these routes, which is only afforded to FAX.

Perhaps a little more history behind what actually took place: AirAsia, through FAX, took over RAS from MAS in 2006, and received higher subsidies as compared to MASwings for the same scope of air services. However, AirAsia quickly surrendered (13 months) RAS back to Malaysia Airlines when they realised how unprofitable the routes were. Is this a case of cherry picking and choosing only to operate on profitable routes? I leave it to your kind selves to make your own conclusion.

Regardless of how this is perceived, it is clear that loss of taxpayer’s money is involved here. As many of you may know, we cross subsidise profitable routes (such as the KK-Sibu route) with other unprofitable routes. By doing this, we in fact help save taxpayer’s money, as MASwings’ P&L is born by the government. There is also the untold story of job loss, as we were forced to retrench hundreds of long serving staff in Sabah and Sarawak under a Mutual Seperation Scheme, due to the initial handover handover in 2006.

Lastly, it is also noteworthy to mention that MAS handed over seven Fokker 50 as well as five Twin Otter aircraft to FAX, all of which were in excellent flying condition. When MASwings resumed RAS operations in 2007, 50% of the Fokker 50 aircraft and almost all of the Twin Otter aircraft were not airworthy. As a result, we spent an additional RM36 million to restore these aircraft back to operational conditions.

I hope that with this, you have a clearer picture of what has transpired, and will help everyone to better understand the situation with the facts in hand.
Thank you.

Encik Mohd Salleh Tabrani
Managing Director

I hope the above clear the air.

However, I still think competition is the way to go and is healthy and should be encouraged.What I still would like to know is the fare disparity, why the huge difference between the two airlines?


eddy said...

Good to know that MAS listens to its customers and looks like Air Asia is not such a nice company after all. Both needs to buck up though.

Anonymous said...

I think AIRASIA as usual is just trying to create a "scene".

Anonymous said...

In my opinion AirAsia is like a greedy child always trying to push their boundaries - for better or worse. I personally have never flown AirAsia and probably will never fly AirAsia, this because I don't believe in such businesses where they aren't upfront will all the cost(s) incurred and services available to the customer when advertising their services. I beleive that is cheating - call it whatever you may.

Another reason is that they are always on the lookout for the cheapest maintenance and coming from the aviation industry there are something that cannot be compromised on. Especially when it comes to the sourcing of parts and MRO services.