Tony Fernandes sings praises of AirAsia X pilots

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has lauded the pilots and crew of AirAsia X flight D7237 for their "heroic job" in bringing all 359 people on board to safety.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Fernandes revealed the names of the pilots - Captain Ibrahim and first officer Vincent as well as Purser Ruijaruuneglai - and said that he is "beaming with pride" at their leadership.

"AirAsia don't make engines and all airlines have engine failures. But when it does happen it takes great pilots and great leadership in times of crisis," he said, adding that videos showed that the captain's announcement had kept the passengers calm.

Fernandes took a swipe at critics who blamed the captain for urging passengers on board to pray for their safety during the distressing incident.

"If it was a full service airline the pilot would have been a hero. But because it's a low cost carrier, press and so called experts make wild accusations and forget the heroics of our crew," he said.

He also thanked Australians who have praised the airline despite all the negative reports.

The low-cost carrier flight was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Perth on Sunday but had to return to Perth Airport an hour-and-a-half later due to a technical issue.

Passengers had reported saying that the Airbus A330 was "shaking like a washing machine".

The flight landed safely at 10am (Perth time), about three hours after its departure.

AirAsia X has said it is conducting an investigation into the cause of the "technical issue" together with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

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