30 May, 2018

Trouble ahead for Air Asia India and boss Tony Fernandes

Trouble ahead for Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia Group, as the Indian police have confirmed to media that they have filed a case against both Fernandes and AirAsia India, over allegations of corruption and breaking rules in obtaining a flying license. 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has accused the airline and third parties, along with some staff of violating India’s foreign direct investment rules while obtaining the licenses. Additionally, there are accusations of bribing government officials in order to get regulations relaxed to allow AirAsia India to commence some international routes.

The CBI said the airline, Tony Fernandes and others “chose to beat the legal frameworks and policies of the aviation sector of India” and lobbied government officials “to secure mandatory approvals, some of them through non-transparent means”.

AirAsia India said it refuted any allegations of wrongdoing and was co-operating with all regulators and agencies “to present the correct facts”. However, the investigation has come at a bad time for the carrier, when expansion plans were well advanced. 

Mr Fernandes is also currently facing another investigation, in Malaysia over a dispute with the Malaysian Aviation Committee, over the cancellation of 120 flights during the general election period earlier in May.