Malaysia's new airport "sinking" says AirAsia

KUALA LUMPUR: Discount carrier AirAsia on Monday called for urgent repairs at Malaysia's new budget airline terminal, claiming the tarmac was "sinking".

AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes criticised Malaysian aviation officials after a plane came off its chocks, a block that braces the wheel, at the KLIA2 terminal in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, causing an eight-hour delay.

"The wheel was bent because the aircraft went over the chock, because it's sinking," Fernandes told reporters on Monday.

Since opening last year, KLIA2 has been riddled with controversy, with cracks reportedly forming on the taxiway and faulty design leading to water pools on its grounds.

"The airport needs to be fixed. Fix it and let's move on," Fernandes said.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which oversees KLIA2, had previously acknowledged the airport was located on unstable ground, which could require years of considerable maintenance to address.

MAHB did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

But Bloomberg news agency quoted the company as saying the problems stemmed from uneven soil settlement.

The settling "has been anticipated from the start of construction", the company was quoted as saying, adding that the airport was addressing the issue by patching and resurfacing problem areas and injecting polyurethane under the ground.

A concrete slab to be completed by next April will provide a more permanent solution, it said.

However AirAsia said permanent solutions must be found quickly.

"We can't afford to have an airport where it is continuously under construction as it obstructs our operations," Aireen Omar, chief executive officer of AirAsia, added.