AirAsia’s CEO, Tony Fernandes, is back after being cleared in an internal probe. Previously, Mr. Fernandes stepped down alongside Chairman Kamarudin Meranun temporarily amid a corruption probe at AirAsia over Airbus aircraft purchases.
Cleared in probe
An independent probe has cleared Tony Fernandes of any wrongdoing in a broad Airbus corruption probe as reported in The Economic Times. Despite denying wrongdoing, Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun stepped aside during the probe.
The review found that the aircraft purchases were justified and at prices that truly were favorable for the airline. In addition, the sports team sponsorship was also done under proper procedures and unrelated to the aircraft purchasing.
The corruption allegations
Alongside the aircraft purchasing, the probe investigated a sponsorship deal for a Formula One team in which Tony Fernandes had a founding hand. The corruption probe attempted to link the sponsorship with the order for Airbus aircraft. However, both Fernandes and Kamarudin had disclosed this sponsorship to AirAsia’s board and abstained from decisions when it came to aircraft purchasing. After analyzing these, AirAsia’s board decided to reinstate CEO Fernandes.
AirAsia and Airbus
Low-cost carrier AirAsia operates hundreds of Airbus aircraft. On the short-haul side of operations, AirAsia operates both A320ceo and A320neo family aircraft across its operations in Malaysia, India, Japan, and others.
For long-haul and high-density operations, AirAsia primarily flies Airbus A330ceo and A330neo aircraft. However, amid a global slump in demand, AirAsia has sought to delay its Airbus A330-900neo deliveries.
As a low-cost carrier, flying the fewest types of aircraft makes the most sense for the airline. This allows for reduced costs for pilots and maintenance. And, when it comes to operations, the carrier can easily sub out one aircraft for another, thus reducing delays.
The return of Tony Fernandes
After this corruption probe at AirAsia, Tony Fernandes is taking the helm at a time when the airline industry is undergoing significant chaos. Countries are closing borders. Airlines are seeing reduced demand. And now, CEO Tony Fernandes will need to guide AirAsia out of this.
Since 2001, Mr. Fernandes has helped AirAsia grow to the behemoth it is today with a significant footprint across Southeast Asia. However, how he responds to this crisis remains to be seen. Currently, the industry is in some uncharted territory.
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes is back after being cleared in an independent probe into corruption allegations in regard to Airbus aircraft orders. However, he will take the helm of AirAsia while facing incredible uncertainty amid global downturn in demand.
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