Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

AirAsia to provide evidence of Mavcom communication with Tony Fernandes

AirAsia to provide evidence of Mavcom communication with Tony Fernandes

Shares in AirAsia Group fell as much as 10 percent on Monday in the first trading session since Fernandes apologized for endorsing former Malaysian leader Najib Razak days before he lost a general election last week to veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad, 92.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has lodged a police report against AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes for his claims that the body had instructed AirAsia to cancel all 120 additional flights scheduled to fly home thousands of voters in time for the recent elections.

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.

"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".

The Commission further reiterated that it had not issued any directive to any airline to reduce or cancel any flights.

On April 19 and April 20, Mavcom Executive Chairman General Tan Sri Dato' Sri Abdullah Ahmad RMAF (Rtd) had communicated with all airlines to seek clarification if there was sufficient demand for the additional flights requested.

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"AirAsia strongly refutes the police report lodged by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) against AirAsia Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes", the budget carrier said in a statement.

"We will divulge the evidences and facts to the appropriate authorities at the right time".

Mr Fernandes declined to comment to reporters in Bangkok, where he attended an AirAsia event. It relies on government approvals to back growth plans in a highly regulated industry where state-owned Malaysia Airlines is its main rival.

AirAsia operated 120 additional flights in order to allow voters to return to their constituencies, a move that MAVCOM would have tried to block, Fernandes had earlier claimed in a video posted online.

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

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