Low-priced 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 Commission has never issued such directive to any airlines including AirAsia to reduce or cancel any flights where regulatory requirements had been met", it said in a statement referring to a video of Tony justifying why he endorsed Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration just before the recent general election.
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.
In the video, Fernandes said he was under intense pressure as he had refused to sack AirAsia X Bhd chairman Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, who had strongly criticised the BN government.
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.
"Within 24 hours, we were summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission and told to cancel all those flights".
At 3.20pm on April 20, the airline requested for an additional 86 flights (43 return journeys with a maximum volume of 15,480 passengers).
"However, on April 23 at 8.17am, the commission received a revised flight application for 66 additional flights for the period of May 6 to May 13, 2018, from AirAsia, superseding its earlier applications". In its e-mail submission, AirAsia specified that its previous applications should be disregarded.
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has also announced it has begun investigating Fernandes's claims in the video, labeling his comments as "serious allegations". "The commission took note of this revision and subsequently approved this revised request on the same day", the statement read.
Malaysia's aviation body has protested claims by AirAsia's chief that it ordered the budget airline to cancel extra low-fare flights in the run-up to last week's elections.
The commission is mandated under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 (or Act 771) to act as an independent regulator for economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia.
Tony Fernandes, who is also the chairman of English football club Queens Park Rangers, had appeared in a video on YouTube on May 6, to credit the Malaysian government for AirAsia's success, adding "I believe the Prime Minister put the people first and allowed AirAsia to grow despite opposition from all over the place".