SEPANG • AirAsia is on the warpath with the Malaysian airport authority, declaring that it will rebrand the KLIA2 terminal as LCCT2, or Low Cost Carrier Terminal 2.
KLIA2 was designated by the airport's authority, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAB), as the terminal for low-cost airlines.
Next door is the full service, older terminal called Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
AirAsia's chief executive officer, Ms Aireen Omar, told reporters on Tuesday that the budget carrier will embark on a rebranding campaign to rename everything it could to LCCT2.
These include promotional materials to its website, tickets and even taxi services.
She knew this would be in defiance of the landlord MAB, which shot down the plan last week.
"I'm going to call it LCCT2 from now on. We run 97 per cent of flights in LCCT2. If you go and look at the board, you will see it is all AirAsia flights, so why should they be denying this?"
Analysts quoted by Business Times (BT) say the passenger service charge (PSC) is the cause of the tensions as AirAsia is resisting any move to increase the tax at KLIA2 to be on a par with KLIA's.
International passengers at KLIA2 now pay half the PSC rate of KLIA passengers, and the difference can amount to as much as RM35 (S$11.60). This could be off-putting to budget-conscious travellers, especially those on short flights, BT said last week.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday: "It is neither necessary, nor practical, nor accurate to rename KLIA2. Names should not be changed for the sake of changing.
"Furthermore, the brand name KLIA2 has been in use since its inception, for two years now."
AirAsia's Ms Aireen had told reporters on Tuesday: "If we were to move to a new airport, what would LCCT2 be? Their retailers would be crying for help and there would be no passengers. It would be empty. It will be a ghost town," she said.
AirAsia has said it was forced to relocate its operations to KLIA2 from its own LCCT in 2014, despite claiming that the new building was rife with security and construction problems.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK