I am going to Sabah next Friday to play golf and will meet up with my kakis in the Land Below the Wind, and catch up on matters of interest and things that matter.
Sabah is a beautiful state and its capital, Kota Kinabalu was voted Lonely Planet’s top ten favourite places to visit in the world in 2013. More visitors are expected during Visit Malaysia Year 2014. Indeed, Sabah stands to benefit from this surge of tourists. And so any threat to reduce the number of arrivals is taken seriously.
Last week things were abuzz about Tony Fernandes threatening to move out of Sabah if his budget airline, AirAsia is ” forced” to operate from Kota Kinabalu Terminal 1 by Malaysian Airport Authority , a government-linked listed company and the Ministry of Transports. His reasoning against moving is purely on profit maximisation.
To cut the story short, my Sabahan golf buddies and I have decided to put our bets on Fernandes’s threat. Should the authorities stick to their decision that Air Asia relocate from Terminal 2; some of us are betting that he will indeed make good his threat and pull out his operations from Sabah. Some, including yours truly, are betting against it.
Here’s the deal. Air Asia proposed arrangement with Japan has gone to the dustbin and that with India will also suffer the same fate and yes, the one earlier with Thailand has long fizzled out and look, have you heard of any new development about Fernandes’s much-talked about foray in Indonesia? in effect, the only one giving Tony Fernandes good business is Malaysia, particularly, East Malaysia!
Come on lah Tony, stop your bullshitting and admit that the Sabah-Peninsular traffics is one of the most lucrative route for you.
Tony Fernandes has been under the weather lately because his companies’ stocks namely, AirAsia and particularly Air Asia X are not doing well at all. A lot of foreign fund managers, due to the tapering of Quantitative Easing (QE) in US, have left the former high and dry and the latter is a no go right from the beginning (Maybank Investment which kept pumping in millions to prop up AirAsia X shares must be having recurrent headache).
If Tony Fernandes pulled out of Sabah, his AirAsia stock (code 7054) will definitely tank. I don’t think he wants that to happen.
Tony , should you have to operate from Kota Kinabalu airport Terminal 1, please eat your words and stay ’cause I have a lot of money at stake on account of my bet!
Our friendly bets are off should the authorities and the Transport Ministry bend over backwards to accommodate Tony’s demand and cave in to his threat ( more like a bluff to most of us!) and allow only AirAsia to operate from the KK Cargo Terminal 2.
A note of caution here though : should Tony get his way, the authorities are setting a bad precedent in the aviation industry in this country.
By the way, will Tony move his operations from LCCT Sepang to the brand new KLIA2 set to open on May 2 2014? Will he use the aerobridges and pay for the higher airport tax? These two issues have put Tony at loggerheads with Malaysia Airports Authority (MAHB) and indirectly the Transports Ministry.