Fernandes quashes news on AirAsia Japan suspending flights

PETALING JAYA (BERNAMA) – AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes quashed news that AirAsia Japan is to suspend flights for most of October.

“I don’t know where this came out from but obviously, (we do) re-value and evaluate all our operations at any one moment.

“We will have to wait and see, but there is nothing planned at the moment (suspensions)…it’s a rumour,” he told reporters after the launch of RedRecords’ first official single Passcode by Jannine Weigel on Friday.

It was reported that AirAsia Japan is suspending flights from October 1 to 24, pressured by weaker than expected demand with three domestic routes connecting the airline’s base in Chubu to Sapporo, Sendai and Fukuoka to be suspended.

Fernandes said the airline would continue to focus on ASEAN and has no plans to close its operations in Japan.

“Not at the moment. We never know what is going to happen (in the future),” he said.

Commenting on the domestic operations, Fernandes said he is optimistic of growth going forward as airlines are in a strong position to recover more quickly, referring to the 9-11 incident from which people recovered and started to fly again.

Asked on the possibility of another retrenchment, he said, “I can’t say no to anything… I’m going to work hard and hope we will get the support so that we don’t have to make retrenchments.

“That is the last thing I want to do. We fought very hard and retrenchment (at AirAsia) is very minimal compared to any other airline,” he explained.

He said the airline load factor for the domestic market currently stands at 70 per cent.

According to Fernandes, many of AirAsia’s previously retrenched staff are being retrained at Redbeat Academy while many others joined other businesses within the airline.