The group chief executive officer of Malaysia-based low-priced airline AirAsia has apologised for going out of his way to back ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak and his party, Barisan Nasional (BN) in the run-up to the May 9 elections in Malaysia.
It noted that it approved all additional flights requested by AirAsia and said Abdullah contacted the airline simply to confirm that it had passengers for those flights.
Mavcom said it had never issued any directive to AirAsia or any other airline to reduce or cancel any flight where regulatory requirements were met.
AirAsia said in a press statement yesterday it will emphasise that the video released by Fernandes on May 13 is fully supported by evidences and facts including direct communication between AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and Mavcom chairman General (RMAF Retired) Tan Sri Dato Sri Abdullah Ahmad. "We will divulge the evidence and facts to the appropriate authorities at the right time", it said in a statement today.
The commission went on explain that the low-budget carrier had on April 13 and 18 requested for a total of 54 additional flights which it approved.
At 3.20pm on April 20, the airline requested for an additional 86 flights (43 return journeys with a maximum volume of 15,480 passengers).
AirAsia's decision to add more flights on election day added to the pressure from Najib's government, Fernandes said.
"Within 24 hours, we were summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) and told to cancel all those flights", he claimed.
"AirAsia strongly refutes the police report lodged by Mavcom against AirAsia Group CEO Fernandes".
The dispute with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) was triggered by Mr Fernandes' apology on Sunday for endorsing Mr Najib, whose Barisan Nasional coalition, which had governed since Malaysia's independence in 1957, was booted out of power for the first time.
He went on to say he had made 120 extra flights available and reduced its fares for domestic flights during the election period, at RM99 for flights in Peninsular Malaysia and RM129 for flights to Sabah and Sarawak.
Mavcom said it viewed the claims seriously and had lodged a police report against Tony over the allegation.
Tony Fernandes, who is also the chairman of English football club Queens Park Rangers, had appeared in a video on YouTube on May 6, to credit the Malaysian government for AirAsia's success, adding "I believe the Prime Minister put the people first and allowed AirAsia to grow despite opposition from all over the place".