Malaysia's budget airline AirAsia, which is eyeing more routes to India, China and Singapore, has said the country's aviation sector must be open to competition to ensure passenger growth.
Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said if an airline was able to fly a particular route, it should not be stopped because of the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines.
"With 'Visit Malaysia Year' next year, Kuala Lumpur International Airport wants to be a big airport, so AirAsia should be given routes to grow," Fernandes was quoted as saying by local papers.
"We are now the biggest low-cost carrier, KLIA is the biggest low-cost carrier terminal and hence, we should not be stopped from growing by not being given (new) routes," he said after receiving the Low-Cost Carrier of the Year award at the KLIA Awards 2005.
"There is a lot to consider here when you are denied routes," he said. His airline was hoping for more routes to China, India, Brunei and Singapore.
"Singapore has to be given to us ... it is important. I fully support the government that the roads and buses should be opened as well; it shouldn't be just the planes.
"But to stop us from getting Singapore because of Malaysia Airlines should not be the case anymore," he said. "If you protect, we will never be competitive. We have to survive in the big world and Malaysia Airlines should not be protected anymore," he said.