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MAVCOM Refutes Accusations by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes

15 May, 2018

Commission lodges police report

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 MAY 2018 – The Malaysian Aviation Commission (“MAVCOM”), further to our earlier statement dated 13 May 2018 would like to state:

  • The Commission categorically refutes the accusation that it told AirAsia Berhad (“AirAsia”) to cancel all 120 additional flights applied for by AirAsia during the 14th Malaysian General Election (“GE14”) period.
  • The Commission had in fact approved all 66 additional flights which were applied for by AirAsia on 23 April 2018.
  • The Commission has never issued any directive to AirAsia or any other airline to reduce or cancel any flights where regulatory requirements are met.
  • MAVCOM views Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ claims as serious accusations and has lodged a police report.

To elaborate, all extra flight applications received by the Commission are done via the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (“CAAM”). AirAsia on 13 April 2018 and 18 April 2018, requested for a total of 54 additional flights (27 return journeys with a maximum volume of 13,660 passengers) to be operated during the GE14 period, which MAVCOM approved on 17 April 2018 and 18 April 2018 respectively. At 3.20pm on 20 April 2018 (Friday), the airline requested for an additional 86 flights (43 return journeys with a maximum volume of 15,480 passengers) to be operated during the GE14 period.

However, on 23 April 2018 (Monday) at 8.17am, the Commission received a revised flight application for 66 additional flights (33 return journeys with maximum volume of 12,274 passengers) for the period of 6-13 May 2018, from AirAsia superseding its earlier applications. In its e-mail submission, AirAsia specified that its previous applications should be disregarded. The Commission took note of this revision and subsequently approved this revised request on the same day.

Inclusive of AirAsia, the Commission approved additional flight application of the various Malaysian-based airlines as of 24 April 2018, totalling 166 flights (83 return journeys with a maximum volume of 26,434 passengers).

On 19 April 2018 and 20 April 2018, MAVCOM’s Executive Chairman, YBhg. Gen. Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Abdullah Ahmad RMAF (Retd) had communicated with all airlines to seek clarification if there was sufficient demand for the additional flights requested. The Commission further reiterates that it had not issued any directive to any airline to reduce or cancel any flights. Only AirAsia proceeded to reduce its application for extra flights while Firefly, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air maintained their requests.

In light of the stated facts of the matter, the Commission views Tan Sri 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.

The Commission is mandated under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 [“Act 771”] to act as an independent regulator for economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia. Its goal is to promote a commercially viable, consumer-oriented and resilient civil aviation industry which supports the nation’s economic growth. On no occasion did the Commission exceed its stated powers under Act 771 nor fail to fulfil its goal in this matter. In fact, the Commission promptly fulfilled its duties in the shortest possible timeframe to facilitate the airlines’ activities for the GE14 that was held on 9 May 2018.

Furthermore, to Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ statement that “within 24hours, we were summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission”, the Commission categorically refutes that any AirAsia staff were summoned at all material times (between 17 April – 13 May 2018) to appear before the Commission regarding this matter.

MAVCOM has lodged a police report on this matter.