|Some of the finest jobs in the aviation sector are at Mavcom, some may say ...|
Puchong, Sept 11: Set up to regulate economic and commercial matters relating to civil aviation, Mavcom is doing a fine job. Literally!
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Of course, Mavcom doesn't just punish and penalise its golden geese. It also has to ensure airlines like Air Asia and AAX collect RM1 in regulatory service charge from every passenger that departs the country's airports (KLIA, KLIA2 and Senai, the only airport not under the MAHB). The RSC is meant solely for Mavcom to finance its day-to-day operations (read the FAQ about Mavcom to know what else it does other than fine and charge RSC).
How the "fine" money is spent, I'm not sure. But here's the thing: for non-compliance, Mavcom can impose financial penalties "not more than 5 per cent of a corporate firm's annual turnover for the preceding financial year."' MAHB (RM4.85 billion revenues in 2018) can, therefore, count itself lucky for getting away with only RM1.18 million in fine this time.
Air Asia and AAX were not as lucky. They were each slapped the maximum RM200k for their respective first-time violations.
Perhaps Tony Fernandes should start praising the Mavcom people sky-high instead of saying it as it is ...
Mavcom has failed Malaysia's aviation sector, says Tony Fernandes
Loke distances himself from AirAsia-Mavcom spat
7 sebab Mavcom gagal majukan sektor penerbangan awam, kata Tony Fernandes
I've never been a fan of Tony Fernandes, despite many of my friends and acquaintances, as well as the media, who seem to think that the sun shines out of his anal orifice, for turning around the DRB-Hicom airline for a token RM1 with RM11 million in debts.ReplyDelete
OK! So he turned around AirAsia into Malaysia's largest airline by fleet "with the world's lowest unit cost of US$0.023 per available seat kilometre (ASK) and a passenger breakeven load factor of 52%" (according to Wikipedia).
AirAsia had become a proxy political football in the minds of Malaysians - i.e. "MAS = UMNO/BN" and "AirAsia = opposition (well, back then)", or "MAS = Malay" and "AirAsia = non-Malay".
Also, many of AirAsia & Tony Fernandes fans believe that AirAsia got where it did "without government assistance", whilst I believe that it did get government help in the form of concessions, air routes, especially within Malaysia, and so forth, when the government could have made it difficult for AirAsia to compete with MAS if it had wanted to.
Also, as neo-liberal economic ideology, privatisation of state assets and re-regulation of indistries became predominant following the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher and the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and spread rapidly worldwide through the Internet and so forth, and AirAsia fans welcomed the competition and greater choice which the rise of private airlines provided.
As it turned out, the unbelievably low air fares advertised by Air Asia were available for a limited number seats purchased by early-bird passengers, but as many passengers have since complained, there were many hidden charges and on average, flying AirAsia (or other budget carriers) was not as cheap as made out to be.
I've flown AirAsia once between the old LCCT and Singapore Changi (not by choice but because my sponsor chose AirAsia). When my return flight landed at the LCCT, it was raining heavily and we were kept onboard until the rain eased since we would have got wet if we exited down the stairs to the apron. When disembarked and got into the covered walkway, there was a long queue of passengers waiting to board and there was plenty of water on the apron under the covered walkway.
I became more anti-AirAsia after crash of the Indonesia AirAsia plane into the sea on 28 December 2014.ReplyDelete
According to the KOMITE NASIONAL KESELAMATAN TRANSPORTASI REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA 2015 report on the crash of PT. Indonesia Air Asia Airbus A320-216; PK-AXC on 28 December 2014 with total loss of the 162 lives on board, the maintenance report showed that there were 23 occurrences related to the rudder travel limiter unit (RTLU) problem in in 2014 prior to the crash (Page 28 of the PDF) and a graph at the top of Page 29 shows one occurrence of problems related to the RTLU in the months of January, February, May, June, July, August and September, then 2 in October, 5 in November and 9 in December (presumably including the last occurrence which led to the crash).
The solution to these RTLU-related problems was to reset (reboot) the flight-augmentation computer (FAC) but the last time, the procedure involved led to the crash.
Further down on Page 68, the report says:-
"The summary of the examination found the electronic cards shows the evidence of cracking of soldering of both channel A and channel B. Those cracks could generate loss of electrical continuity and lead to a TLU failure."
"Thermal cycles associated to powered/not-powered conditions and ground/flight conditions, generate fatigue phenomenon of the soldering, and may result in soldering cracking. Soldering cracking could induce a disconnection of components from the circuit. The disconnections could create a loss of the affected RTLU channel."
Electronic components are soldered to the metal tracks which connect components together on electronic circuit boards in the factory, and what the above says in simple English is that the circuit board of that rudder travel limiter unit (which would have to be mounted in the tail of the aircraft where the rudder is), is subjected to repeated heating and cooling which in turn would have resulted in repeated expansion and contaction, which may have led to fatigue and cracks in the soldering which were detected by the BEA (Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety in France) to which the KNKT had sent it for inspection.
I am an electronics engineer and we call this a "dry joint". I used to install and maintain refrigerator-sized mini-computers back in the 1980s and a dry joint in the motherboard of electronic control system of a filing cabinet sized hard disk drive (an Ampex DM940), led to me spending many sleepless nights troubleshooting the problem which was intermittent - i.e. occurs, the computer hangs, reboot the computer and it can run for hours without problem until the intermittent problem occurs again.
However, typical with most intermittent problems is that they began to occur more frequently until they become hard problems and are so much easier to identify and rectify - usually by replacing the defective circuit board with a working spare and having the defective board repaired by the supplier.
This pattern of frequency of occurrences of problems related to the RTLU on that Indonesia AirAsia plane is consistent with my experience the occurrences of intermittent faults on that mini-computer I maintained, though instead of merely causing the mini-computer to hang, resulting in a delay of that month's pay for my company's staff, in this case, 162 lives on that aircraft were were tragically lost.
Why didn't Indonesia AirAsia not just replace the intermittently faulty RTLU with a working unit and then identify and fix the problem in the faulty unit in the workshop or send it back to its manufacturer for maintenance and repair. That could have saved the 162 lives on board that plane that day.
Some AirAsia fanboys may say that Indonesia AirAsia is "not AirAsia" but sorry I disagree, since AirAsia owns a 49% stake in Indonesia Air Asia, with Fersindo Nusaperkasa owning 51%, since Indonesian law forbids majority foreign ownership in domestic Indonesian airlines.
Anyway, even if Indonesia AirAsia is an AirAsia franchise, it is still expected to maintain the same standards as AirAsia, just as a McDonalds or a Starbucks franchise in Malaysia must maintain the same standards as McDonalds or Starbucks in the US.
The above is why I am not a fanboy of AirAsia or of Tony Fernandes and I'd like to see them try and owe payments due to other airports and civil aviation authorities in other countries to which they fly.
At the same time, I acknowledge that there are valid issues with MAS which need to be resolved.
Meanwhile, if I need to travel anywhere on a Malaysian budget airline, I'll try to avoid flying AirAsia and fly Malindo or some other budget airline instead.