AirAsia Group has disseminated among its units an MYR300 million ringgit (USD72 million) loan from Sabah Development Bank, it said in a Bursa Malaysia stock exchange filing, but a government guarantee does not back the loan as it had hoped.

The AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) parent previously said it needs to raise MYR2.5 billion (USD600 million) by the end of 2020, MYR1.5 billion (USD360 million) of which could be in the form of loans from banks.

However, this particular loan is partly to fund specific development projects as well as a project to turn the Sabah state capital’s airport, Kota Kinabalu, into an international hub for AirAsia’s operations and enhance and promote Sabah products and tourism destinations.

“The main purpose of the loan is to enhance logistics in Sabah by increasing its supply chain and connectivity, creating over 100,000 new jobs in the process,” the October 23 filing claimed.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee urged the state’s government to stop the loan, arguing that was not in the state’s best interests to risk its limited funds to keep AirAsia running.

“If any help is needed to keep either AirAsia or Malaysia Airlines afloat, then it is for the federal government to take up the task,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings has initiated a lawsuit against AirAsia X (D7, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) to demand payment of an allegedly owed sum of MYR78.16 million (USD18.77 million) and applied to be excluded from the long-haul low-cost carrier’s proposed debt restructuring scheme.

As previously reported, AirAsia X proposed to its creditors on October 7 to restructure MYR63.5 billion (USD15.2 billion) in liabilities, reconstituting it into an acknowledgement of indebtedness for a principal amount of about MYR200 million (USD48 million).

Malaysia Airports is a secured creditor of AirAsia X, the airport operator argued, so it must be excluded from the carrier’s planned debt reshuffle.

“In particular, [Malaysia Airports Holdings] is a lienholder whose debt is secured by a contractual lien over the properties of AAX,” it said in a Bursa Malaysia filing on October 23, specifying the properties as any aircraft, parts, accessories, vehicles, equipment or any other assets belonging to the airline.

AirAsia X fired back in a statement that the alleged outstanding sum was primarily made up of an MYR23 (USD5.50) difference per passenger in the Passenger Service Charge that the airline had not paid.

The airport tax increased in August 2019 from MYR50 (USD12) to MYR73 (USD17.50). AirAsia X did not collect the additional amount from passengers, it said, due to a Ministry of Transport announcement that the tax would be brought back down to RM50. A further MYR9.2 million (USD2.2 million) in the amount allegedly owed was for “late payment of interest unilaterally and egregiously imposed on AirAsia X” for the uncollected tax.

The rise in fees could not be justified for the substandard airport facilities and services imposed on passengers, the carrier said.

“We would also like to point out that [Malaysia Airports Holdings] has yet to pay agreed incentives owed to AirAsia X” estimated at MYR7.9 million (USD1.9 million) for 2018 and MYR6.9 million (USD1.7 million) for 2019, it added.

Another of the 1,200 unsecured creditors that are being asked to write down what AirAsia X owes them, the lessor BOC Aviation, has also voiced its objections to the proposed restructuring, according to a stock exchange filing on October 26.

In related news, AirAsia logistics platform Teleport has added 11x weekly cargo-only flights serving Asian destinations from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, to Colombo Int'l, Chennai, Dhaka, and Singapore Changi, and from Bangkok Don Mueang to Delhi Int'l, Malé, and Kuala Lumpur Int'l, Air Cargo World reported.

Cargo capacity on the flights, operated by Thai AirAsia (FD, Bangkok Don Mueang) and Thai AirAsia X (XJ, Bangkok Don Mueang), is visible to airlines and cargo specialists via Teleport’s blockchain-based platform Freightchain without them having to use the usual time-consuming, manual interlining process, Teleport said.