AirAsia X brushes off calls to ground airline Down Under


PETALING JAYA: Low-cost, long-haul carrier AirAsia X has dismissed calls for the airline to be banned from Australian skies for safety fears, The Australian reported.

AirAsia X Group Chief Executive Kamarudin Meranun said the incidents were not as serious as have been reported and that the airline stands by its safety record, the newspaper said.

He claimed the string of incidents being investigated by the nation’s transport safety bureau were being misreported.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is said to be investigating four incidents involving the carrier, prompting calls for the airline to be grounded.

The Australian said the incidents included a loss of separation between an AirAsia X A330 and a Jetstar A320 over Gold Coast Airport, an engine shutdown on a flight to Kuala Lumpur and a near collision in Melbourne when an AirAsia X A330 began taxiing before a pushback tug had moved clear.

“If you look at the cases, the negative reporting that came out, I don’t think it is fair,” Kamarudin said.

“I don’t think the conclusions and assumptions that have been put out are correct. If you go to the ATSB website, you can see lots of other airlines that are worse off.

“But that’s the price you pay when you are busy. We are paying the price for being very visible.

“As far as I’m concerned, we are very proud of our safety record.”

Kamarudin said the airline’s insurance premiums had not moved up, saying this was proof that AirAsia X was not a safety risk.

“We are equally proud to say our insurance coverage is one of the lowest. To me that is testament of the safety and security of the company because they are the paymaster.

“So we are not concerned because we have nothing to hide.”

The airline had earlier this week recruited Australian singer and X Factor judge Guy Sebastian as its ambassador.

“Australia is a very important market for us,” Kamarudin said.

In the same report, Kamarudin shrugged off competition from other low-cost carriers such as Jetstar, saying: “It is what it is.”

“As long as you can manage your business well and you can sustain whatever shocks come across, then you should be all right. Margins might be squeezed but you should be all right.

“We’ve been through hell in the past 15 years. Financial crises, tsunamis, SARS, you name it, but we came back. So we have a model that remains the same from day one.“

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