AirAsia says can disprove Mavcom’s denial over fixed-fare flights for GE14

AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes apologises for succumbing to political pressure in his support for BN during the GE14 campaign in this screenshot taken from his Facebook video. — Picture via Facebook/Tony Fernandes
AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes apologises for succumbing to political pressure in his support for BN during the GE14 campaign in this screenshot taken from his Facebook video. — Picture via Facebook/Tony Fernandes

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Low-cost carrier AirAsia claimed today it can refute the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (Mavcom) denial that it pressured Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to cancel fixed-fare flights for the 14th general election.

The airline insisted that it has evidence to support Fernades’ claims that Mavcom tried to force him to end the offer and withdraw additional flights to enable Malaysian voters to travel home and vote.

“We would like to emphasise that the video released by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes on May 13, 2018 is fully supported by evidences and facts including direct communication between AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and executive chairman of Mavcom, Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad.

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

The airline said it would cooperate fully with any police investigation against it, but said it would use all legal avenues available to protect its interests and that of Fernandes.

AirAsia was among the first firms to come up with offers for Malaysian voters after the Election Commission inexplicably set polling for GE14 on May 9, a Wednesday.

But Fernandes controversially appeared in a video openly supporting Barisan Nasional (BN) just ahead of Polling Day, leading Malaysians to deride him mercilessly over the move.

Fernandes put out a video on Sunday to admit that he “buckled” under pressure from the defeated BN, but claimed he was compelled to do so to protect his airline that he alleged had been told by Mavcom to discontinue the offers.

Response to his confession has been mixed, with some expressing sympathy, while others insisting that Fernandes was simply trying to make amends for a failed political bet.

Mavcom denied the allegations today and lodged a police report against Fernandes.

It noted that it approved all additional flights requested by AirAsia and said Abdullah contacted the airline simply to confirm that it had passengers for those flights.