SEPANG: AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, commended Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s leadership and policies for helping and backing the airline all the way to become a world leader in the aviation sector.
AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the airline started with two planes 16 years ago and had grown following the government’s policies and a leader who put the people first.
“We’ve been big believers in your policies.
“We would not be where we are today if not for your wisdom and vision.
“We respectfully hope for your kind consideration on how best to shape an ideal cost environment for low-cost airlines like AirAsia, not just to grow but thrive for the benefit of the nation,” he said at the official launch of the AirAsia headquarters, RedQ, by Najib here yesterday.
Fernandes said the rakyat recognised and appreciated the strength and compassion Najib has shown in tackling this country’s biggest issues where others had failed or feared to tread.
Meanwhile, Fernandes said, AirAsia named Najib as the “Father of low-cost air travel” following his continuous contributions to the low-cost airline.
He said when Najib was deputy prime minister, he agreed to lower passenger service charge (PSC) at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) from RM35 to RM25 in June 2007.
“Thanks to that bold move, even with only six months left in that year, we saw passenger traffic at LCCT jump 31%, from 5.8 million to 7.6. million, in 2006,” he said.
Fernandes said the passenger traffic would continue to grow at an annual rate of 25% before dropping to 13 per cent per annum after the PSC was raised to RM32 in November 2011.
Fernandes said Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.9 per cent, low employment at 3.3 per cent, and 2.26 million jobs created since 2009 were among the success stories under the stewardship of Najib.
Meanwhile, he said, AirAsia needed a low-cost terminal to make it the biggest airline in Asia and the world.
“It is about the people. The success story of AirAsia is good for Malaysia and contributes to the rising standards of living which the prime minister has been targeting,” he said. – Bernama