Malaysia’s aviation authority to see if AirAsia, sister company broke laws on Airbus claims

The Mavcom logo is seen at the reception desk of the office of the Malaysian Aviation Commission in Menara 1 Sentrum, Kuala Lumpur, May 28, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
The Mavcom logo is seen at the reception desk of the office of the Malaysian Aviation Commission in Menara 1 Sentrum, Kuala Lumpur, May 28, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) will assess if executives from local budget airline AirAsia and its long-haul sister company AirAsia X violated the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 as well as the commission’s guidelines concerning graft allegations on Airbus SE.

Mavcom said it is looking into the matter as a result of the graft allegations made against the carrier by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

“Pertaining to the judgment by the Crown Court at Southwark, London on graft allegations involving Airbus SE and two persons related to AirAsia Berhad and AirAsia X Berhad, as also reported in various media on 1 February 2020, the Malaysian Aviation Commission will assess whether there is any contravention of the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 and the Commission’s Guidelines on Fit and Proper Person,” it said in a statement today.

It pointed out that the companies are subject to the law also known as Act 771 and the Guidelines on Fit and Proper Person as they hold air service licences issued by the commission.

However, Mavcom also acknowledged that investigation into the matter will require inter-agency cooperation.

The British SFO alleged that Airbus paid a bribe of US$50 million (RM205 million) to win plane orders from Asia’s largest budget airline group.

AirAsia has said it never made any purchase decisions that were premised on Airbus sponsorship, and that it would fully cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The MACC is also investigating the allegations from Britain.

The Securities Commission said last Sunday it will also look into whether or not AirAsia broke securities laws.

The allegations were revealed last Friday as part of a record US$4 billion settlement Airbus agreed with France, Britain and the United States.

Prosecutors said the company had bribed public officials and hidden payments as part of a pattern of worldwide corruption.

Over the weekend, Airbus said it would not comment on the Malaysian investigations.

AirAsia shares fell as much as 11 per cent to RM1.27 – their lowest since May 2016 – while those of AirAsia X tanked 12 per cent to their all-time low of 11.5 sen.

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