It has been reported that “A system malfunction forced the pilots of an AirAsia X flight from Kuala Lumpur to Jeddah to abort the flight and return to Malaysia 8-2-2015, the AirAsia Group’s CEO said.
The incident sparked fresh questions on social media about the Malaysian airline’s safety record as it struggles in the aftermath of the loss of Flight QZ8501 in late December with 162 people on board.
“One auto-thrust not functioning properly. Actually okay to fly but we just returning it to base,” Tony Fernandes told AFP in a text message, calling it a “minor issue.”
“What is happening with Malaysia and airplanes? This is really, really scary,” posted one Twitter user. For full report please read HERE.
To Tony Fernandez any problems associated with his AirAsia Group will always be “minor issue” until 162 innocent lives have been killed then it will be just a short term nightmare to him. Thanks God that the AirAsia X flight D7172 from KL to Jeddah did an air turn back in good time.
Your truly hopes that Datuk Azharuddin Bin Abdul Rahman, the Director-General of DCA, , will take note of the above adverse comments made in the social media with regards to the safety record in our aviation industry. An airline needs to have Air Operation Certificate (AOC) to operate. The issuance of AOC is under the purview of DCA.
It is an open secret that the then MCA’s Minister of Transport, YB Datuk Chan Kong Choy and DCA have been very AirAsia friendly to the extend of AirAsia was allowed to collect and keep the airport taxes paid by passengers for many years. All airlines are in the position of trust when collecting airport taxes and airlines are legally bound to hand over the airport taxes to the airport authority, which is MAHB. The procedure is no difference to the other airport authorities. This was just one of the examples.
On 19-5-2005 AirAsia X was incorporated. It was incorporated under the name of Fly Asian Express Sdn Bhd (FAX) with no track record operating air services.
On 1-8-2006 the said Minister of Transport had granted FAX/AirAsia X to take over from MAS and operate Rural Air Services (RAS) in Sabah and Sarawak. Presumably within a very short period from the date of inception of FAX/AirAsia X, DCA must have issued an AOC to FAX/AirAsia X otherwise FAX/AirAsia X would not have been able to operate the RAS then. One wonders on what basis DCA granted the AOC to FAX/AirAsia X when at that material time it had no track record for DCA to evaluate. For the background of FAX/AirAsia X, please read HERE.
By April 2007 therre were endless complaints from the Sabah and Sarawak State Government, Tourist Agencies, MPs and other organisations of the poor RASA provided by FAX/AirAsia X. Obviously, Tony Fernandez of AirAsia/AirAsia X was fully aware of the said poor services. Below was what Tony Fernandez told the press as an excuse to give up RAS:
Fernandes said FAX would be launching AirAsia Long Haul operations soon, and that it would be too distracting to operate turbo-propeller aircraft as well.
Spinning Is Talking To Tony Fernandez
It was clear from the above statement that Tony Fernandez was spinning to pave the way to stop the RAS. It was typical of Tony Fernandez. At that material time, out of the twelve aircraft operated by FAX/AirAsia X, seven were found to be grounded by FAX/AirAsia X due to un-airworthiness and another one was cannibalized for spare parts. Only four were in operation for the RAS in Sabah and Sarawak. Hence, the outcries from the people in Sabah and Sarawak. Please read HERE & HERE.
When the Indonesian Minister of Transport announced that AirAsia X flight QZ8501 on 28-12-2014 was unauthorised, Tony Fernandez immediately announced that AirAsia X had the right to fly on Sunday and in fact AirAsia X had been flying seven day a week from Surabaya to Singapore. The silence on the part of Tony Fernandez is deafening, when after his own director had told Indonesian House of Representatives that AirAsia X was only authorised to fly four days a week and it was a “Administrative Negligence” on the part of AirAsia X, HERE.
Track Records of FAX/AirAsia X
In June 2007 MAS was instructed to take over RAS from FAX/AirAsia X. MAS commissioned Fokker Services Asia Pte Ltd to carry out an audit on the conditions of the aircraft. It cost MAS RM35 million to put the twelve aircraft in operational condition. Khazanah, being the majority shareholder of MAS, did not instruct MAS to claim the said RM35 million from FAX/AirAsia X. During MAS-AirAsia share swap fiasco, Khazanah had contracted to buy 10% of the share in AirAsia X. It was uncertain whether Khazanah was also AirAsia and AirAsia X friendly too.
It was evident that at the material time FAX/AirAsia X could not properly operate the RAS, Tony Fernandez had the audacity to have said “FAX would be launching AirAsia Long Haul operation soon and operating turbo-propeller aircraft was a distraction”. At that material time, he got away with such statement. In fact, at that material time, Tony Fernandez and his AirAsia could do no wrong. By the way the RAS was for two years contract and after a year it was prematurely terminated and AirAsia was allowed to keep in FULL the subsidy totaling RM250 million.
In November 2007 FAX changed its name to AirAsia X Sdn Bhd. With such bad track record of very poor maintenance of aircraft, DCA saw it fit to allow AirAsia X Sdn Bhd to keep the AOC and operate long haul air services.
In November 2012 DCA had discovered the shortcomings in AirAsia’s flight operations procedures and practices including flawed communications between flight operations and pilots, outdated manual and flight operations not keeping up with the manual. Despite such discoveries of serious safety issues, DCA still issued a six month temporary AOC, HERE.
AirAsia Was Facing Too Many “Minor Problems”
There have been several reports in the press that AirAsia plane skidded off runway in Philippines, Brunei and Kuching, auxiliary power unit failure and now system malfunctioning, which is a minor problems according to Tony Fernandez. On 28-12-2014 the UNAUTHORISED AirAsia X flight QZ8501 crashed into Java Sea killing 162 innocent passengers and crew. Was the cause of the said crash another “minor problem”?
IT.Scheiss, a regular reader and contributor of this blog, has made the following observation:
There are many Airbus 330s and 320s of many airlines flying daily with little problems but the frequency of AirAsia’s problems suggests something is wrong about their quality of maintenance.
Ministry of Transport and DCA Must Commence Investigation Into the Many “MINOR PROBLEMS”
The IT.Scheiss’ comment was a constructive comments that the Ministry of Transport and DCA should take note of and ask themselves the question: Why there were so many “minor problems” with AirAsia’s Airbus A330s and 320s when other airlines hardly experienced such frequent “minor problems”?
Is the Malaysian DCA serious about safety issues after all? Do we need another air tragedy for DCA to buckle up and provide a real safe and efficient and orderly flow of air transportation and regulate aviation activities in Malaysia as announced HERE?
The Minister of Transport, YB Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, is now duty bound to instruct our DCA, which is an AirAsia’s friendly authority, to commence a thorough investigation into AirAsia Group on all matters relating to safety and maintenance of aircraft as Malaysia must take all preemptive measures to avoid another man-made tragedy.
Yours truly hopes that the current MCA’s Minister of Transport, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, will not be too AirAsia friendly and put the interests of air travelers and nation as his top priority when dealing with the renewal of AOC or matters involving safety issues and/or AirAsia’s frequent “minor problems”.