AirAsia fires back at MAVCOM as war of words continues

AirAsia has responded to the police report made by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) against its group CEO Tony Fernandes (pictured), over claims that AirAsia was pressured to cancel 120 flights during the election period.

While MAVCOM said it has begun investigating those "serious allegations", AirAsia said it strongly refutes the police report.

"We would like to emphasise that the video released by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes on 13 May 2018 is fully supported by evidences and facts including direct communication between AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and Executive Chairman of MAVCOM, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Abdullah bin Ahmad RMAF (Retd.)," the airline said in a statement to A+M.

It added that it will divulge the evidence and facts to the relevant authorities at the appropriate time, as well as fully cooperate with the police on the investigation. AirAsia also said it will "take all actions that are necessary" to protect the interests of AirAsia as well as Fernandes.

Fernandes recently apologised for buckling under “intense pressure” and taking actions to protect the company - having an AirAsia aircraft sport the livery “Hebatkan Negaraku” (Make My Country Greater) and being quoted saying AirAsia owed its success “to the government” led by the former PM Najib Razak.

According to him, the Prime Minister’s Office requested him to remove AirAsia X’s chairman Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz from the board when she got involved with the opposition. However, he fought to keep her position as Fernandes did not feel it was a fair move. He also reduced ticket prices during the election period despite knowing the decision would not be a popular one with the government.

In the apology video, Fernandes said he “foolishly” thought that by doing the first video, and having a plane carry the livery of Barisan Nasional, the government would be appeased. Since the apology, AirAsia Group’s shares tumbled by approximately 10%, according to Reuters.

Recently, the airline celebrated its 500 millionth guest in Bangkok, in its sixteenth year of operations. “We would like to attribute this incredible milestone to every single guest who has flown with AirAsia. We are delighted to have been part of the flying experiences and memories of so many people and communities around the world, especially Asean, making it a smaller place. We are also proud to have contributed positively to the region’s economy through tourism and job creation,” Fernandes said.

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