Malaysian aviation body protests AirAsia's claim of pressure

Malaysian aviation body protests AirAsia's claim of pressure

Malaysian aviation body protests AirAsia's claim of pressure

On Sunday, Fernandes released a Facebook video apologising for "buckling under the pressure" after receiving flak for endorsing Barisan Nasional during the election campaign period.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) refuted on Tuesday accusations by Fernandes that it had told the budget airline to cancel all additional flights meant to help voters return home before polling day.

The government's challengers had criticised the mid-week polling date as a bid to dampen voter turnout and make it harder for Malaysians living overseas to return home to vote.

"Mavcom has never issued any directive to AirAsia or any other airline to reduce or cancel any flights where regulatory requirements are met", it said in a statement on Tuesday (May 15).

Earlier, Mavcom had lodged a police report against Fernandes for claiming the commission had asked AirAsia to cancel all 120 additional flights it had applied for during the election period.

Expressing his disappointment with the commission, Fernandes said Mavcom should remain independent and treat all industry players fairly.

The airline said Tony's claim was backed by evidence, including communications with Mavcom executive chairperson Abdullah Ahmad.

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Shortly after Mavcom said it lodged the report, AirAsia issued a statement saying it has evidence and facts to back Fernandes' allegations.

"We respectfully hope for your kind consideration on how best to shape an ideal cost environment for low-priced airlines like AirAsia, not just to grow but thrive for the benefit of the nation", he said.

Fernandes tentatively reconfirmed the group's commitment to the A330neo jet at the event in Bangkok celebrating the carrier's half-a-billion customer milestone.

AirAsia operates in various Asian countries but home market Malaysia is its largest contributor to earnings.

AirAsia also requested for an additional 86 flights on April 20, according to Free Malaysia Today.

Mavcom said it had in fact approved all 66 additional flights which Air Asia had applied for on April 23 itself.

"Only AirAsia proceeded to reduce its application for extra flights, while Firefly, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air maintained their requests", the regulator said.

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