AirAsia Bragged In An In-Flight Magazine That Its Pilots Would Never Lose A Plane

Tony Fernandes
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

AirAsia’s in-flight magazine bragging about its pilots’ superior training, which appeared shortly after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in March, is looking especially tasteless in light of the airline’s own recent tragedy.

The airline pulled the magazine and apologised after an AirAsia passenger posted a photograph of the article on Twitter earlier this year.

The article talked up AirAsia’s thorough pilot training and assured passengers that their pilot “is well prepared to ensure [their] plane will never get lost.”

On Sunday, an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people disappeared en route to Singapore. AirAsia is a budget airline that is also based in Malaysia.

After AirAsia’s article seeming to mock the Malaysia tragedy appeared in its “travel 3Sixty” magazine, the airline’s executive chairman Kamarudin Meranun apologised and insisted that the issue was printed before MH370 disappeared. The Malaysia Airlines plane was carrying 239 people and has never been found.

The comments about AirAsia’s pilots never losing planes appeared in a monthly column written by a retired pilot who has worked for AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines, the Associated Press reported Meranun said at the time.

AirAsia’s flight QZ8501 is thought to have crashed. Search teams have spotted suspicious objects and oil slicks within the search field for the missing plane. It’s not yet clear what the objects seen in the water are, and officials have not said whether it’s wreckage from the plane.

The plane went missing during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore shortly after asking to deviate from its planned flight path because of bad weather.

The flight crew lost contact with air traffic control at about 6:17 a.m. on Sunday, about halfway through the flight.

155 Indonesians are on board the plane, along with three people from South Korea, and one from Singapare, Britain, Malaysia, and France. Of those passengers, 16 are children and one is an infant.

The AirAsia plane disappearance comes after two other major aviation disasters this year. Flight MH370 still hasn’t been found and is thought to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, and in July, another Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down while it was flying over Ukraine.