Writ of summons seeks RM479.78m from MASSB

KUCHING: AirAsia Bhd and AirAsia X (AAX) have jointly filed a writ of summons at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, claiming some RM479.78 million from Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB).

The claim is for loss and damage caused by negligence on the part of MASSB, its servants and/or agents in the management, operation, maintenance and/or provision of airport services and facilities at KLIA2, according to AirAsia Group Bhd.

AirAsia is a wholly-owned subsidiary and AAX an affiliate of AirAsia Group.

According to the low-cost air carriers, the loss and damages they had suffered were related to the infrastructure and state of airports and its operations, which include major apron defects, random closure of runways, damage to aircraft and rupture of fuel pipelines. 

They claimed that they had attempted on numerous occasions, without success, to engage MASSB, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAB), on these issues but regrettably that the latter had decided to bring these issues to the public arena by commencing legal actions against them.

The legal actions were related to civil suits MASSB had filed against AirAsia and AAX over unpaid passenger service charges, late payment charges and legal costs.

MASSB said recently that it had received payments of about RM27.39 million from AAX and RM14.16 million from AirAsia, totalling RM41.54 million .

These payments were made following the garnishee execution proceedings filed by MASSB against three of AirAsia’s banks which were initiated to enforce three Kuala Lumpur High Court judgements on July 18, 2019 that were awarded in favour of MASSB in its three civil suits against AirAsia.

“These payments were made without prejudice to AirAsia’s rights in its appeals and the connected interlocutory applications,” MAB had said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

To recall, MASSB filed separate writ of summons and statement of claim on AirAsia and AAX for additional passenger service charges at the KL High Court on Dec 10, 2018.

In their defence served on MASSB on Jan 23, AirAsia and AAX have claimed, among others, that they had suffered loss and damage which was estimated to be in excess of RM400 million.

On June 25, the KL High Court dismissed the judicial review leave application by AirAsia and AAX against Malaysian Aviation Commission. MASSB was named as a respondent in the application.

The judicial review application was inter alia for an order of mandamus to compel the commission to commence to decide on the disputes between AirAsia and AAX with MASSB.

On July 18, the KL High Court granted summary judgement in favour of MASSB  in all three civil suits it filed against AirAsia and AAX.

“The summary judgement order was for a combined amount of RM40,728,327.50 in unpaid
passenger services charges (PSC) and a combined amount of RM792,381.74 in unpaid late payment charges.

“The summary judgement order further included a declaration for AirAsia to pay MASSB the PSC rates that have been gazetted in law,” said MAB.

The court also dismissed the application filed by AirAsia to strike out or stay the three civil suits filed by MAASB.

On Sept 6, MASSB served garnishee show cause orders to three of AirAsia’s banks, directing the banks to set aside the specific funds for the purpose of satisfying the full judgement sums which remain due and owing. The show cause order was subsequently served to AirAsia’s solicitors.

AirAsia and AAX have paid the respective sum demanded by MASSB to defray the garnishee execution proceedings.