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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

AirAsia boss backs pilot for suggesting prayer on tense flight

Kamarudin Meranun says he would have done the same thing, and that the pilot was calm and in control.
Kamarudin-Meranun-1
PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Bhd chairman Kamarudin Meranun has defended the pilot of AirAsia X flight D7237 for asking passengers to pray during a tense period in the aborted journey on Sunday, saying that he would have done the same thing.
He said the pilot was calm and in control, and as a “believer” had asked everyone to pray with him as he guided the plane to safety.
“What is wrong with asking for prayers in whatever religion especially when you are in a tight position, seeking divine intervention while doing whatever humanely possible?” he said in a Facebook posting today.
“Making statements are always easy when you are safely on the ground. Such a situation will never be easy to manage,” he added.
Kamarudin said the pilot’s objective was clear in wanting to land the aircraft safely and ensure safety of all on board, which is what eventually happened.
“I would have done the same thing,” he said.
“As such, I stand by the pilot and his team, both as an individual (in) public and management/shareholder of AirAsia.”
DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim had yesterday criticised the pilot’s suggestion and for saying that he too would be praying in the hope that the plane lands safely.
“Good lord, I much prefer pilot don’t tell me death is imminent,” the former minister said in a posting on Twitter.
“Pilot has to give hope, and leave the rest to God and the passengers. If AirAsia are big into prayers; engage proper Imam and priest,” Zaid added.
The Airbus A330 with 359 passengers encountered technical difficulties shortly after take-off from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, but landed safely back at the Perth International Airport at 10am on Sunday,
Meanwhile a Facebook posting yesterday by a passenger named Madeline Wright which lauded the flight’s captain for his conduct during the emergency went viral.
“Our reassuring captain talked us through the whole situation and gave us every piece of information he had,” she said.
“The way we all cooperated and remained calm throughout the event made it easier for crew aboard to help us and for our captain to fly us to safety. No one screamed.”
“A technical problem like this could happen on any plane and Air Asia’s cheaper flights are not to blame,” she added.
“People should not be criticising Air Asia for missing anything – technical problems happen all the time, even on more expensive flights.”
She said criticisms against the captain for telling passengers to pray and attempts to get him fired were “disgusting”.
“He was professional. He was human. He was a reassuring voice during this event and gave us hope,” she said.
“He is the reason I am still alive and I cannot thank him enough.”
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has begun investigating the incident and said today that a report will be released within several months.
It added that as a result of an in flight engine fault, the aircraft was subjected to moderate airframe vibration and that the flight crew “elected to return to Perth”. -FMT

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