|AirAsia chief Fernandes condemns Malaysia ineptitude
Flamboyant AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes savaged state carrier Malaysian Airlines and the aviation authorities, accusing them of mismanagement.
The budget airline mogul posted the comments on his Twitter feed a day after Malaysia Airlines announced 1.17 billion ringgit (US$355 million) losses in 2013, AFP reports.
“AirAsia Allstars, take a bow. Malaysia Airlines lost over a billion,'' Fernandes tweeted.
“So much money wasted. If people were more efficient Malaysians would spend less on travel.''
Fernandes bought ailing AirAsia in 2001, quickly turning it around with his no-frills, low-fare formula.
AirAsia has put severe pressure on inefficient MAS, which analysts say is hampered by poor management, bloated and demanding unions and government interference.
On Tuesday MAS also reported its fourth straight quarterly loss.
“I wonder if it's fair that Malaysia Airlines can lose so much money and protect its market share. Can only do that with taxpayers money,'' Fernandes tweeted.
Fernandes also took aim at Malaysian regulators.
“Imagine how many jobs AirAsia could have created if [there was] effective regulation. We have done amazing. Unbelievable. Despite all the roadblocks,'' he said.
The two airlines briefly buried the hatchet in 2011, when Fernandes agreed to a strategic tie-up.
But the deal was called off just months later, with Fernandes faulting “massive'' MAS union resistance to reform and hinting at deep problems.
AirAsia is currently at odds with government-controlled airport operator Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad over a two-year delay and cost overruns in the construction of a new budget terminal outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia is set to be the main presence at the facility. Its current opening date is May 2 but recent media reports have suggested it may yet be pushed back again.
AirAsia reported its net profit fell by US$11 million in the third quarter of 2013, mostly on foreign-exchange movements. It will report full-year results at the end of February.