Updated: AirAsia Refutes Mavcom Police Report Against Tony Fernandes

AirAsia says it has evidence to support its Group CEO’s claims about the Malaysian Aviation Commission.
Thursday 17 May 2018
Screenshot: Facebook

[Updated 17 May 2018] AirAsia is firing back at the police report lodged by Mavcom against Tony Fernandes, saying that there is evidence to support the claims its Group CEO made in his recent Facebook video.

“AirAsia strongly refutes the police report lodged by Mavcom against AirAsia Group CEO Fernandes,” the company said in a statement. “We would like to emphasise that the video released by Fernandes on May 13 is fully supported by evidence and facts, including direct communication between AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and Mavcom executive chairperson Abdullah.”

“We will divulge the evidence and facts to the appropriate authorities at the right time,” the statement added.

On Tuesday, Fernandes said that Malaysia’s Transport Ministry is capable of handling the local airline industry fairly without Mavcom.

“I’ve always wanted (for the industry) to be treated fairly,” Fernandes said at a celebration of AirAsia’s 500th millionth passenger milestone. “It’s not about (being) good to AirAsia and bad to Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), or good to MAB and not to AirAsia. Do what is good for Malaysians.”

“We (at AirAsia) wanted Mavcom because we thought it would be great for the industry, and for them to be independent and look at the industry fairly. (But) I think it’s better to not have Mavcom.”

He continued: “Airene, myself, Ben and Riad had nothing short of torture when dealing with MAVCOM.”

“AirAsia and I will never stop fighting for fair industry practices and demand decisions to be made for the benefit all Malaysians,” Fernandes added.

[Updated 15 May 2018] The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has lodged a police report against Tony Fernandes for what it is calling “baseless and malicious” claims.

Fernandes said in a recent video posted to his Facebook page that Mavcom had summoned AirAsia and instructed it to cancel the extra 120 flights it had scheduled before election day.

Mavcom said in a statement dated 15 May: “The Commission views Tony Fernandes’ accusation against Mavcom of informing AirAsia to cancel ‘120 extra flights which would have carried 26,000 people on top of our normal flights’ as baseless and malicious.”

In the statement, the commission also added that it “had in fact approved all 66 additional flights which were applied for by AirAsia on 23 April 2018” and “has never issued any directive to AirAsia or any other airline to reduce or cancel any flights where regulatory requirements are met.”

[Original article 14 May 2018]

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes has apologised for buckling under pressure from the previous Malaysian government during the election period.

Fernandes published a video on his Facebook page on 13 May (watch it above), in which he revealed the series of events that led up to him flying former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on a Barisan Nasional-themed plane from Kota Kinabalu on 7 May. He said he had been pressured to remove Rafidah Aziz as AirAsia X chairperson as she was an outspoken supporter of Pakatan Harapan.

“I refused to do so, because I thought it was not the right thing to do,” he said. “As Rafidah’s impact and popularity grew, the pressure grew exponentially. It was getting harder and harder to resist the pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office. I stood firm, I never ever mentioned to Rafidah to step down from the board of AirAsia X. Because it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Rafidah confirmed all this on Facebook, adding: “Please reset the AirAsia support button. Please continue to allow us to fly you as we did before. In fact with the new government with Tun at the helm, we can expect the operating environment to be more business friendly, and constraints faced by the Aviation Industry can be eased and removed.”

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Fernandes added that when AirAsia added 120 flights at reduced ticket fares, the move would have carried some extra 26,000 people home to vote. However, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) summoned the company with an order to cancel those flights. A Mavcom spokesperson said on Sunday that these are “serious allegations” and it will be investigated.

Fernandes also received backlash for starring in an episode of the #NegaraKru video series, for which netizens accused him of supporting Barisan Nasional. That, he explained in his apology, was part of “appeasing the government.”

“Foolishly, I thought by doing the video, which I felt was fairly neutral and factual, and the plane from Kota Kinabalu would appease the government and protect the jobs of our Allstars and more importantly, the very essence of allowing more than 80 million people to fly every year with low fares.”

“Under the intense pressure, I buckled,” Fernandes said. “It wasn’t right, I will forever regret it. But it was a decision made at the spur of the moment to protect that baby that has given so much to Malaysia and will continue to give so much to Malaysia. I apologise once again for the pain and the hurt I caused. My views, as I said earlier are very much the same as all of your views. I look forward to a fantastic new Malaysia. A Malaysia that gives everyone a chance.”

While there are some who are still not convinced by the airline mogul’s apology, he has since received support on social media – many people are also urging others to consider both sides of the story before passing judgement on Fernandes or boycotting AirAsia.

Read some of the reactions below.

shivnesh-mark-kumar - tony fernandes
Screenshot: Facebook

wee-cher-wei - tony fernandes
Photo: Facebook

Fernandes had no comment to make when contacted by UNRESERVED.

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