KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 22): Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has gone ahead to initiate a lawsuit against AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) to demand the payment of an owed sum, saying the action is necessary to "best protect its interest".
The airport operator said its wholly-owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd filed the suit at the High Court today over outstanding aeronautical charges of RM78.16 million.
"The outstanding aeronautical charges are comprised of passenger service charges, passenger service security charges, aerobridge charges, aircraft parking charges, check-in counter charges, landing charges and late payment charges," MAHB said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.
The Edge reported earlier today that MAHB had sent a legal letter to AAX, demanding the RM78.16 million sum and also challenging the airline's classification of the airport operator as an unsecured creditor to be included in AAX's proposed debt restructuring scheme.
However, MAHB made no mention of the unsecured creditor classification in its filing today.
The airport operator said its claim is pursuant to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Aviation Services) Charges Regulations 2016 and the Conditions of Use for Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
"As part of the civil suit, the plaintiff is also seeking an order that the plaintiff's contractual and continual lien over the defendant's user properties under the Conditions of Use shall only be discharged upon full settlement by the defendant of the full sum owing to the plaintiff.
"User properties are defined in the Conditions of Use as any aircraft, parts, accessories, vehicles, equipment and/or any other property belonging to and/or under the defendant's control or any ground handler appointed by the defendant," added MAHB.
The airport operator said its board is of the opinion that it is necessary to pursue the suit to best protect its interest.
It added that the suit is not expected to have any material impact on the operational position of the company.
The Edge, in its report, cited sources as saying that MAHB's solicitors sent the legal letter to AAX's lawyers on Oct 14.
MAHB, the report noted, wants to be excluded from AAX's RM63 billion debt restructuring scheme, failing which it will intervene when the debt restructuring is heard in court.
AAX has classified all its creditors, including Airbus and aircraft lessors, as unsecured. It will require 75% of them to agree to the plan to restructure RM2 billion of current debts and another RM61 billion in future liabilities, which are mainly linked to purchases and leasing of planes.
Shares in MAHB finished 1.2% or five sen higher at RM4.20, valuing the company at RM6.97 billion. The counter saw 1.92 million shares traded.
AAX closed unchanged at 3.5 sen, with a market capitalisation of RM145.19 million. It saw 3.15 million shares change hands.