Living On A Prayer

The partiality of media is apparent when it is selective in their stories about a flight from a very ‘friendly’ low cost carrier, when the mitigating matters could probably witness the worst air disaster in Malaysian aviation history.

The Star story:

Sunday, 25 June 2017 | MYT 5:43 PM

Perth – Kuala Lumpur AirAsia X flight turns back due to technical issues

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X flight D7237 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Perth, Australia has returned to Perth Airport due to a “technical issue”.

AirAsia X in a statement on Sunday confirmed that the flight “landed safely” at 10am (Perth time), about three hours after it departed with 359 passengers on board.

“Passengers were attended to by our ground staff upon landing and all necessary assistance are being provided,” said AirAsia X.

It added that airline engineers are taking precautionary steps to check the aircraft.

“Guests on board the flight will be transferred to the next available flight or the recovery flight which is scheduled to depart Perth at 20:30 hours (Perth time) tonight,” said the airline in a Sunday statement.

“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” it said.

Passenger Sophie Nicolas who was on board the flight told Australian publication PerthNow that she heard a small explosion from the left wing.

“You could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad,” she told PerthNow.

She said the captain then announced the plane would be returning to Perth.

“He said ‘I hope you all say a prayer, I’ll be saying a prayer too and let’s hope we all get back home safely. It was terrifying,” said Nicolas.



There are many issues arisen from the incident. Especially for an aircraft which has been in operations for less than two years.

The latest fleet of AirAsia A330s use Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.

Considering the aircraft and engines are very new, it is a major global aviation interest how did the blades of the port side engine blew off mid flight when she is levelled flying 90 minutes away northeasterly over South Indian Ocean towards Kuala Lumpur.

What is more astonishing, the aircraft shook violently on the turn back towards Perth.

The Star did not even carry the story about the aircraft could be grounded for months, to the rare incident for such a new aircraft.

NST story:

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the investigation report on AirAsia X Flight D7237, will be released in several months.

KUALA LUMPUR: An AirAsia X airplane grounded in Perth, Australia after it was forced to turn back to the city’s airport following an engine malfunction while en route to Kuala Lumpur, may take several months to be cleared for release.

In a statement, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the investigation report will be released in several months.

Flight D7237, which was flying on Sunday morning with 359 people on board, was about 90 minutes into the journey when the problem surfaced.

“As a result of an in flight engine fault, the aircraft was subjected to moderate airframe vibration. The flight crew elected to return to Perth,” read the statement posted on ATSB’s website.

The bureau said it will be interviewing personnel involved, examining the engine damage, and downloading and analysing data and cockpit voice recorders.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said that the probe will involve the manufacturers of the aircraft’s engine (Rolls Royce), adding that there will be a thorough investigation not only of AirAsia planes, but other airlines which use the same engines as those on the A330 aircraft (flight D7237).

Aziz added that a preliminary report submitted by AirAsia to the Department of Civil Aviation shows that the airline had followed all mandatory maintenance and procedures required of the engine.

He said that AirAsia has been instructed to give its full cooperation to the ATSB in its investigation.

DCA director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the airline will be providing a full status report after the ATSB wraps up its investigation and the airline has fully addressed the issue.

The engine must also be replaced before the aircraft returns to Malaysia, once the ATSB has wrapped up investigations.

Aviation expert Professor Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian said roping in the manufacturer in the investigation is a good idea, as the ATSB had reported that Rolls Royce engines for Airbus have a propensity for similar issues, based on statistical analysis.

Harridon cited reports that one of the blades in one of the aircraft’s turbines had broken off.

“This would have caused an imbalance to the engine, and this in turn would have caused the engine to constantly and intensively vibrate. Even though the engine had been shut down, the turbine would keep rotating due to the windmill effect, as the aircraft is moving at a high speed of 300 knots on average.

“The windmill effect is akin to blowing high gusts of wind into the turbine and this wind causes the turbine to rotate. There were a couple of incidents within these couple of years regarding turbine blade failure in Rolls Royce engines, and some of them due to the fact that a particular batch of turbine blades were deformed materially during the manufacturing process,” he said in an interview with the New Straits Times yesterday.

Dr Mohd Harridon said that investigators must look at, among others, what took place during the flight to establish the cause of the turbine blade breaking off.

He also stressed that there should be thorough checks on the airplane’s maintenance records to establish if the proposals noted down after the checks had been followed.


The Star is noticed to have failed to highlight that AirAsia X and AirAsia have into past lost their Airline Operating Certificate (AOC) believed mainly due to non compliance, which include failure to update the operating manual.

The Sun story:

Air Asia X investigating cause of AirAsia X-D7 237 incident (Updated)

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia is currently conducting an investigation with its aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce in finding the cause of the incident involving AirAsia X flight D7 237 which forced the plane to turn back following technical difficulties near Perth, yesterday.

In a statement, today, the low-cost carrier said it is also cooperating fully with the Australian aviation authorities.

“The safety of our guests and crew is of utmost importance to us.

“We would like to stress that AirAsia Group has always strictly followed the maintenance programme prescribed by our manufacturers,” it said.

AirAsia stressed that the airline also complied with all regulations and requirements as set forth by every country where the airline operates, including Australia.

“In Australia, AirAsia Group has also regularly passed safety and security
audits conducted by the local aviation authorities.”

The airline group has also initiated the process of undergoing voluntary Iata Operational Safety Audit (Iosa) auditing for all airlines within the group, including AirAsia X Malaysia, AirAsia X Indonesia and AirAsia Indonesia, with AirAsia X Malaysia receiving two Iosa audit certificates in 2015 and 2016.

The AirAsia X flight heading to Kuala Lumpur was forced back to Australia on Sunday morning due to a technical problem, with one passenger saying the plane was “shaking like a washing machine”.

The Airbus A330 aircraft from Perth to Kuala Lumpur experienced problems about 90 minutes into the journey.

According to other reports from the Australian media, several passengers had recorded the video of the aircraft, described as “shaking like a washing machine”, while the pilot made the announcement asking everyone on board to pray on the way back to Perth.

The aircraft eventually landed safely, with Perth Airport reporting a “technical issue”.



The incident was made worse with the stupid and highly distasteful remark by a failed politician Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim, who attacked the Captain who encouraged passengers to say a prayer as he commandeered the aircraft back to its origin.

The Star which is a media group where the principal officer of the AirAsia Group Tony Fernandes sit in the BoD, chose to highlight the AirAsia X CEO Dato’ Kamaruddin Meranun’s attack on Zaid’s obvious faux pas.

The Star story:

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 | MYT 7:59 PM

AirAsia X Group CEO hits back at Zaid Ibrahim for criticising pilot


PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (pix) has hit back at DAP’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim for criticising the AirAsia X flight D7237 pilot who had asked his passengers to pray for their safety.

“What is wrong with asking for prayers in whatever religion when you are in a tight position, seeking divine intervention while doing whatever humanely possible?” Kamarudin asked.

“Making statements is always easy when you are safely on the ground,” he said.

In a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Kamarudin said he would have done the same thing.

“As a believer, he (the pilot) asked everyone to pray with him as he guided the plane to safety. I would have done the same thing,” he said.

He praised the pilot for being calm and in control in ensuring the safety of all those on board, and added that he stands by the pilot and his team for their decisions.

On Monday, Zaid criticised the pilot in a series of tweets saying that it was irresponsible for the pilot to urge to passengers to pray while the plane experienced distressing technical difficulties.

In a separate statement, MIC treasurer-general Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari called Zaid’s statement “irresponsible and unbecoming”.

“I find it amusing that Zaid Ibrahim has made an issue out of this incident when the focus should be on congratulating the AirAsia X pilot and his crew for bringing all the passengers of flight D7237 home safely,” he said.

The low-cost carrier flight with 359 people onboard was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Perth on Sunday but had to return to the 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.



It is good to have a friendly media as an extension to the marketing and promotion effort for a low cost carrier such as the AirAsia Group, which business model is very reliant on the volume of take ups.

However, the media should not be noticed to be ‘kind’ in the manner of watering down or completely omitting some of the stories, especially the severity of incidents.

Especially when it comes to safety issues and non compliance or even worse, negligence.

It is very distasteful to thread and trot on the misery of others, especially after a deadly tragedy. However the doomed aircraft of the tragic AirAsia Indonesia flight from Surabaya to Singapore  has been found 19 months ago to have defective maintenance issues.



Published in: on June 27, 2017 at 23:00  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Agreed, Big Dog.

    The Star was surprisingly silent on reporting the initial air incident but I wouldn’t bother about them, since others have reported about it.

    Anyway, the engine failures on AirAsia X Airbus A330 which returned to Perth Airport on Sunday 25 June 2017, the China Eastern Airbus A330 which returned to Sydney Airport on 11 June 2017 and Shanghai bound Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 which lost power in both engines over the South China Sea on 23 May 2015 have one thing in common – i.e. all three of these aircraft were powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 series turbofan engines.

    On 4 November 2010, a fire and explosion occurred in the rear section of the No. 2 engine, a Rolls-Royce RB211 Trent 972-84 high-bypass turbofan powering Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380-842, at around 2:01 UTC (10:01 am Malaysian time), as the plane was climbing out of Singapore Changi Airport enroute to Sydney.

    On Sunday 25 June 2017, the accessory gear box of a CFM International CFM56 engine powering a Malindo Air Boeing 737-900 fractured, causing the engine to seize, whilst the plane was enroute from Lahore, Pakistan to Kuala Lumpur, forcing the pilot to divert to Delhi and two days later on 27 June 2017, the windscreen of a Malindo Air Boeing 737-800 enroute from Dhaka to Kuala Lumpur cracked, resulting in the plane returning to Dhaka.

    Instead of wasting time and energy bickering over relatively trivial issues like the pilot asking passengers to pray for their safety, politicians such as Zaid should instead demand answers as to why the above six air incidents occurred and what is being done to rectify whatever inherent faults there may be with the above engines and windscreen; their manufacturers’ quality control, the structural integrity of the materials used and the parts involved; and also the quality of maintenance, checks and inspections these aircraft had received whilst in service with the above airlines.

  2. Yes, “It is very distasteful to thread and trot on the misery of others, especially after a deadly tragedy” but getting to the root of the tragedy can help avoid future loss of lives.

    For those who are interested to understand the cause of the Air Asia Indonesia crash with the loss of 162 lives can download the KOMITE NASIONAL KESELAMATAN TRANSPORTASI (National Transportation Safety Committee) Air Accident Investigation Report – FINAL KNKT. via the link below:-

    Click to access Final%20Report%20PK-AXC%20Rev-1.pdf

    It’s a lot to go through and at parts, rather technical but you can skip to the CONCLUSION on Page 117 (page 119 in a PDF reader) for a summary of the cause or causes.

  3. Are you faulting AirAsia or Rolls-Royce (which manufactures the Trent engines)?

    Has any aviation regulator (such as the US FAA) issued a worldwide alert for airlines operating aircraft powered by the said Trent engines?

    If you have a bone to pick with AirAsia, AirAsia X or Tony Fernandes, come out and say it upfront. Rather than resort to innuendos.

  4. You can see here a picture of the broken fan blade on the AirAsia Airbus A330 after it landed in Perth.

    This is why the aircraft was shaking like a washing machine, since the fan was imbalanced after the loss of a part of one of its blades.

    Even though the flight crew shut down the engine, the air flowing through the fan caused it to rotate -i.e. “windmilling”

    The question is, why did part of the blade on this engine’s fan break off?

    Since this incident occurred in Australian airspace, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is responsible to investigate this incident but since it involves a Malaysia-registered aircraft, the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Civil Aviation must also work to get to the bottom of this.

  5. Well the MoT is investigating the case, according to this Bernama report carried on MalaysianOutlook

    Liow said he had directed the Department of Civil Aviation and Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) under his ministry to investigate and determine the actual cause of the emergency faced by Flight D7237 last Sunday.

    “The details of the investigation will reveal more from the cockpit recorder on what actually transpired during the flight,” he told reporters before officiating Klang MCA’s annual general meeting last night.

    But just details from the cockpit recorder, when the picture I posted in my earlier comment above tells a thousand words and should raise a thousand questions.

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