KUALA LUMPUR — January 2, 2020: A blogger has apologised to AirAsia Berhad for accusing the low-cost airline company as being responsible for the downgrading of Malaysia’s air safety standards by the United States.
In a blog entry today, Syed Akbar Ali admitted that he had posted defamatory remarks on the company and regretted doing so as the downgrade by the US Federal Aviation Administration last November was not due to any company’s fault.
“I have to clarify that the downgrade by the US was directed at the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and was not directed at any individual airline flying from Malaysia to and from the US.
“Hence, all my comments that were written on the 12th of November 2019 which mentioned AirAsia (and by extension AirAsia X Berhad) were untrue and unfounded and should be ignored,” he wrote, adding that the apology will be removed from his blog after January 15.
Syed Akbar’s controversial post ‘Malaysian Flights Threat to Pearl Harbour’ has been deleted from his blog as the blogger has been known to regularly erase his posts after a period of time.
The downgrading from Category 1 to 2 meant that Malaysian airlines can no longer open new routes to the US or code-share with American carriers. As it is, only AirAsia X — a subsidiary of the AirAsia Group — flies there, to Honolulu via Osaka.
Malaysia is also the third Asian country to have its air safety standard listed as Category 2, with the other being Bangladesh and Thailand.
At the hype of the controversy, analysts remarked that the downgrade could turn public perception of Malaysian carriers negative, hurt the maintenance business, undermine the ability of local pilots and engineers from getting hired overseas and drive up insurance premiums and leasing rates.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had previously said that the government will take the necessary corrective measures if there is indeed anything wrong with CAAM.