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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tony Fernandes praises ‘heroic pilots’, avoids ‘prayer’ issue

AirAsia Group CEO takes to Facebook to remind 'media and so-called experts', that AirAsia does not make engines and that all airlines experience engine failures.
PETALING JAYA: AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes took to Facebook to praise the actions of the flight crew involved in the safe landing of a stricken AirAsia X flight on Sunday, but did not touch on the contentious topic of the pilot asking passengers to pray.
Fernandes said he was “super proud” of the flight crew’s actions following the events surrounding AirAsia X flight D7237, which left Perth, Western Australia at 6.50am on Sunday en route to Kuala Lumpur, and turned back to Perth a few hours later.
“Super proud of all my crew led by Captain Ibrahim. And first officer Vincent and Purser Ruijaruuneglai who did a superb heroic job bringing back everyone safely.
“AirAsia don’t make engines and all airlines have engine failures. But when it does happen, it takes great pilots and great leadership in times of crisis,” he wrote.
The Airbus A330 aircraft used for the flight suffered engine failure when an explosion occurred on the left engine with one of the fans on the turbine having broken off. The plane was shaking like a “washing machine” according to some passengers.
“If it was a full service airline the pilot would have been a hero. But because it’s a low-cost carrier, press and so-called experts make wild accusations and forget the heroics of our crew,” Fernandes said.
He was alluding to negative press reports in foreign media, with some passengers saying they will never fly the airline again. Others complained about the lack of support they received from the airline after it returned to Perth and over the issue of connecting flights, among other things.
“In this kind of situation you need counselling. My daughter was so scared. We went through a difficult situation, it was so intense,” an Iranian passenger, Rasool Zareie, who was travelling with his family en route to Teheran, told Australian media.
However, as far as the flight itself was concerned, Fernandes spoke of the positive feedback he had received.
“From videos you can see all guests calm, and from the many emails and WhatsApp I got, the captain’s announcements kept everyone calm.
“I want to thank the many Australians who have praised AirAsia for all we have done despite all the adverse press,” he said.
While referring to the “captain’s announcements” based on the messages he received via email and social media, Fernandes did not make any mention of the controversy surrounding the pilot allegedly telling passengers to pray after realising the seriousness of the plane’s engine trouble.
Some passengers told Australian media that the pilot had told them to pray the plane landed safely back in Perth.
“He (the flight captain) said: ‘I hope you all say a prayer; I will be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely’,” passenger Sophie Nicholas was quoted as saying by WA Today, a daily published in Western Australia.
Former minister Zaid Ibrahim chided the pilot for asking passengers to pray, but AirAsia Bhd chairman Kamarudin Meranun was quick to defend the pilot. -Mkini

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