PETALING JAYA,. Claims that it instructed AirAsia to cancel all 120 additional flights the airline had scheduled before GE14 are “baseless and malicious”, says the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).
Mavcom also denied AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ claim that they had summoned AirAsia, and lodged a police report against him.
“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.
According to Mavcom, on April 13 and 18, AirAsia had via the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia applied 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 April 17 and April 18 respectively.
However on the morning of April 23, AirAsia sent Mavcom a revised flight application for 66 additional flights (33 return journeys with a maximum volume of 12,274 passengers) for the period of May 6 to 13 with a note to disregard its earlier applications.
Mavcom said it had approved all 66 additional flights that AirAsia applied for by April 23.
It added that on April 19 and April 20, Mavcom executive chairman Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad sought clarification from all airlines if there was sufficient demand for the additional flights requested.
“Only AirAsia proceeded to reduce its application for extra flights while Firefly, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air maintained their requests,” it said.
“Mavcom further reiterates that it had not issued any directive to any airline to reduce or cancel any flights.
“Inclusive of AirAsia, Mavcom approved additional flight applications of the various Malaysian-based airlines as of April 24, 2018, totalling 166 flights (83 return journeys with a maximum volume of 26,434 passengers),” it added.
Mavcom said it is mandated under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 to act as an independent regulator for economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia.
On Fernandes’ statement that “within 24 hours, we were summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission”, Mavcom refutes that there were any AirAsia staff members summoned between April 17 and May 13 to appear before the Commission regarding the matter.
After receiving brickbats over AirAsia’s endorsement for Barisan Nasional, Fernandes released a video on Sunday apologising for “buckling under pressure”.
He said the low-cost carrier added 120 extra flights, which would have carried 26,000 people on top of normal flights and reduced ticket prices.
Unfortunately, he said, this had put him under even more pressure when the government realised that the airline was ferrying so many voters.
“Within 24 hours, we were summoned by Mavcom and told to cancel all those flights,” he claimed.