Now, ‘nobody can fly’ on AirAsia Flight AK5202

by Mike Tan

EXCLUSIVE: 2015 doesn’t seem to be a good year for AirAsia! This morning, AirAsia Flight AK5202 from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching was aborted after it developed technical problems just shortly before take-off.

A member of Theantdaily team who was on board said that the passengers had boarded the plane at 7am, which was supposed to take off at 7:25am from KLIA2.

The plane was about to taxi onto the runway when the pilot encountered an undisclosed technical hitch. He then announced that the plane would return to the airport apron for the engineering team to take a closer look.

The passengers then spent about half an hour waiting in the plane while the engineering team proceeded with the check. The pilot then informed them that they had been given the green light to proceed but had to wait another five minutes for engineering documentation.

The process, however, took the better part of 30 minutes. By that time, the passengers had grown anxious and restless and were wondering what actually was going on.

After a while, the pilot announced that the engineering team returned to inform him that it was actually a major problem. He informed the passengers that the flight was delayed and requested them to disembark to wait for a new plane, stating that “I cannot accept this aircraft”.

The announcement had taken the passengers by surprise as many of them had assumed that it was something minor. There were more than a few apprehensive faces among the passengers as the gravity of the situation sank in.

According to Theantdaily team member, the replacement aircraft is at KLIA2, and all that is required is for it to be prepared for the flight. The passengers boarded the replacement aircraft and their flight resumed with a successful take-off at 10:40am.

This incident is the latest in a series of technical problems that have surfaced this year after the crash of AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501. AirAsia has thus far been quietly brushing aside questions regarding its maintenance and safety standards, trying its best to project a ‘business-as-usual’ image.

Did AirAsia Flight AK5202 barely avoid becoming yet another major air incident thanks to the attentive pilot and engineering crew? Yet it is quite shocking that the plane was at first cleared to take off after the inspection only for the crew to revise its findings at what seems to be the very last minute.

While AirAsia has managed to retain its reputation as a leading budget airline, it is fast gaining infamy where the safety and reliability of its aircraft are concerned.

We dread to think whether it will be a matter of time before AirAsia loses another plane?

Let’s pray it does not, but there is the lingering fear that if the airline does not address this issue, the worst will indeed come to pass.

AirAsia was lucky today. It might not be so lucky the next time.

But for the captain and crew of AK5202, kudos for the excellent job today. You are the kind of people whom AirAsia passengers can rely on and feel safe with.

Finally, it would be in the interests of all parties involved in this morning’s incident if AirAsia could furnish its account of what actually was the problem. Surely, the airline owes its customers that much. – The Ant Daily

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