Sunday, February 1, 2015

Is it safe to fly AirAsia?

Photo: Achmad Ibrahim/AP
Photo: Bagus Indahono/EPA
Tony Fernandes had tweeted about “sensational headlines on AirAsia” and “silly headlines in Malaysia” (Malay Mail Online, January 05, 2015) – and he tries very hard to give the impression that his airline have been unfairly pilloried.

After all, AirAsia can do no wrong and they deserve only plaudits, having won Skytrax World's Best Low Cost Airline for 6 years running (i.e. 2009-2014). Fernandes would like us to believe that the media is conspiring against AirAsia.
The AirAsia head honcho was referring to the ill-fated flight QZ8501 but casting aside his defence of his airline, we have learned that things are not what they seem to be. And facts are facts. He himself said: “One by one facts will come out and clear us”.
I don’t know whether the facts will clear AirAsia but already the dirt is piling up.
It all started when reported that the airline had contravened a letter of authorization issued by Indonesia's Director General of Civil Aviation dated October 28, 2014, which stated that they were only allowed to ply the Surabaya-Singapore route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They weren’t authorized to fly on Sundays. And it is still not clear how the plane came to fly on that route on that Sunday without approval.
On January 02, 2015, the Transportation Ministry suspended AirAsia’s Surabaya-Singapore route due to the breach in the operational schedules.
Then Jakarta Post on January 04, 2015 highlighted that official documents had alleged Indonesia AirAsia violated procedures which resulted in the pilots of the doomed flight QZ8501 not receiving the requested weather report before flying out into stormy weather.
Then I read in the New Sunday Times, Malaysia today (p 34) that the Airbus A320 had been suffering maintenance faults with a key flight control computer (i.e. the Flight Augmentation Computer) for over a week. One person familiar with the matter said the captain (i.e. Iriyanto) had flown on the same plane with the intermittently faulty device just days before the fatal crash.
Sunday Star too reported that the family of French co-pilot, Remi Emmanuel Plesel had filed charges against Indonesia AirAsia for “endangering the lives of others” as the airline did not have permission to carry out the flight between Surabaya and Singapore on the day of the crash (February 01, 2015, p 32).
And notwithstanding the QZ8501 deadly plunge into the Java Sea on December 28, 2014 that killed all 162 people on board – I had also blogged about the three separate AirAsia incidents on three separate occasions (December 28 & 30, 2014 and January 03, 2015) which I titled ‘Fright Flights’ (please read it at this link – that hinted that AirAsia should seriously look into putting their own house in order.
I had said I would not fly AirAsia, period. And I was criticized for being flighty (pun intended).
AirAsia should be honest and address all the issues above. Failing which I would ask, Is it safe to fly AirAsia? I have already given my answer.

No comments: