The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes was barking up the wrong tree when he accused CAAP of blocking the airline’s full operations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.
The CAAP on Wednesday also reacted to Fernandes’ claim that AirAsia was being treated as a “third-class entity” by the aviation regulator, saying that Fernandes should have brought the matter to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).
“He should try to talk to Manila International Airport Authority general manager Jose Angel Honrado, not the CAAP. We had nothing to do with airport operations . . . We are not part of NAIA. We don’t have anything to do with the operation there,” CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said.
The Malaysian-British entrepreneur had criticized Philippine airport authorities for the alleged unfair treatment of his low-cost airline, claiming that AirAsia is being blocked to prevent it from growing in the country.
He said only two of the airline’s international flights—Manila to Incheon, Korea and Manila to Jinjiang, China—are allowed to operate from NAIA Terminal 3 while the rest operate from NAIA Terminal 4, or the old Manila Domestic Terminal.
And yet the airline has to pay the same fees as those who operate in Terminal 3, “which should clearly be not the case due to the different service that they get,” he said.
Fernandes said AirAsia and its Filipino partners have invested a fortune and created lots of jobs and yet the airline is still being treated third class.
He also lamented the unfair grounding of then Zest Air, now Air Asia Zest, by the CAAP in August last year over safety concerns and various safety violations.
MIAA released a statement in response to Fernandes’ complaints, saying: “We are appalled why Mr. Fernandes chose to air his concerns before the media instead of sitting down first with the Airport Authority to where rightly he should direct all these concerns he is now saying. For someone of his stature and prominence, we expect better.”