MANILA, Philippines - The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Wednesday hit back at AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes, who criticized Philippine airport authorities for their "unfair" treatment of the budget carrier.
In a statement, MIAA general manager Jose Angel Honrado said he was disappointed that Fernandes aired his grievances through the media.
"I am disappointed that he chose to air his grievances in the media rather than sit down with airport authorities to discuss the issues. For somebody of his stature, we expect more," he said.
On Monday, Fernandes said he doesn't think AirAsia is being treated fairly by airport authorities in the Philippines. He believes AirAsia is being "blocked" to prevent it from growing in the country.
For one, Fernandes said almost all of AirAsia's flights are only allowed to operate at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4, or the old Manila Domestic Airport.
In response, Honrado said it was the former management of Zest Air that asked the MIAA to allow them to operate at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4, or the old Manila Domestic Airport.
"Maybe he should know that it was the former Zest Air who asked
MIAA to allow them to operate at Terminal 4 because we could not accommodate at Terminal 3. I suggest that he focus his attention in ensuring safe flight operations and sound financial management," he said," he said.
Fernandes also noted that despite operating at the old airport, AirAsia still has to pay the same fees as those who operate in Terminal 3, which should clearly be not the case due to the different service that they get.
"It is just not right. AirAsia and my Filipino partners have invested a fortune, and we are creating lots of jobs. Really, we are being treated third class," Fernandes said. "It's not right. I feel very bad for my staff. I don't mind operating in Terminal 4, but then charge us appropriately."