PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes, who got married over the weekend, has taken to Twitter to defend the actions of the crew on board the airline's flight from Perth to Denpasar which was forced to turn back after losing cabin pressure.
Flight QZ535 on Sunday (Oct 15) experienced technical problems that forced the aircraft to return to Perth after just 25 minutes in the air.
The incident happened on the same day Fernandes, 53, had married Chloe, an actress in her early 30s, at a private wedding ceremony believed to be held at the Cote d'Azur in southern France, attended by only family members, close friends, and AirAsia's top officials.
Several US media outlets had reported that the AirAsia QZ535 flight crew had allegedly "panicked" and were "hysterical" as the plane made a rapid descent.
It was reported that a technical problem had caused the aircraft to plunge from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet without warning.
The flight attendants were said to have "spooked passengers" with their behaviour as passengers frantically put on their oxygen masks and braced themselves, the media reports said.
Fernandes however refuted these reports.
"It is frustrating when (the) media twists stories. Our pilots and crew did a superb job. Plane lost pressure, which happens to many aircraft," he tweeted late on Monday.https://twitter.com/tonyfernandes/status/919937719438053376
He said the crew was not screaming but telling passengers that they had to "sit down, belt up and get oxygen on" for safety reasons.https://twitter.com/tonyfernandes/status/919938673336094720
He added that the pilot, "in a controlled manner", took the aircraft down to a safe altitude where oxygen was not needed and the aircraft landed safely.
Fernandes noted that depressurisation can happen on any flight.
"I have been in another airline when that happened and pilots also did an excellent job and are trained for it," he said.
He later retweeted Twitter user Edmund Kiu who said that the aircraft descending 22,000ft in 10 minutes was "decent time" and not a "sudden drop" as reported by the media.
Fernandes also retweeted a post from another user - CK Chan - who called for the media to "revise their reports" as the aircraft had not "plunged", but had conducted a controlled descent.