KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - TRANSPORT Minister Ong Tee Keat will meet representatives from MAS and AirAsia to ensure the price war between the two airlines does not harm the local aviation industry.
Datuk Ong said he would also look into claims by AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes that MAS was using subsidies for international flights for its domestic low-fare promotions.
'I will find out more details about the subsidy and the validity of the subsidy,' he said.
The Transport Minister said negative statements by either party would affect the aviation industry.
He would meet both parties but stressed that the meeting should not be seen as him meddling in the airlines' business models. 'It is my duty to ensure that whatever happens now won't affect the industry negatively,' he said.
Meanwhile, MAS managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala has said that he will not participate in a public debate suggested by AirAsia.
Datuk Seri Idris also said AirAsia has been giving away free seats for years now, without any protest by MAS. He denied the accusation by Datuk Fernandes that MAS was using international subsidies to fund its Everyday Low Fares.
Datuk Seri Idris said AirAsia had been given various subsidies including initially zero, and subsequently, lower airport charges.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK