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MALAYSIA
Airline Safety
July 12, 2007

FAX cannibalised parts from other aircraft
Half of the aircraft which Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) used to operate for rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak were not airworthy, an official from an audit firm said July 12.

"Restoration cost is estimated at some 40 million ringgit," Michael Cole, the regional director of Fokker Services Asia Pte Ltd, the audit firm, said.

"Components and parts were, and are presumably still are, being cannibalised from the grounded aircraft to keep the serviceable aircraft in operation," he said in a statement here today issued by Malaysia Airlines.

AirAsia's chief executive officer, Datuk Tony Fernandes has a 50% stake in FAX.

"When we started the audit, half of FAX's aircraft were not airworthy (and) in view of the ready availability of components and parts, this is a cause of great concern," he said.

He also said considering that the fleet of 12 aircraft was fully operational as at July 2006, the condition of the aircraft now is totally unacceptable.

MAS said in the statement that it was committed to commencing rural air services (RAS) beginning October 1 this year to provide air connectivity for Sabah and Sarawak which is a key priority.

MAS' Managing Director Idris Jala, said the results of FAX's aircraft audit by Fokker Services reported in a local newspaper today confirmed its earlier findings.

"When we were requested to take over the RAS, we noted that four out of FAX's seven Fokkers, and one of its five Twin Otters were grounded.

"Since the aircraft were already grounded, we offered to help repair these aircraft. We have since restored two Fokkers and one Twin Otter, and returned the aircraft to FAX for their operation," Idris said.

MAS returned the aircraft to the owner, Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd upon the domestic rationalisation on Aug 1, 2006.

PMB later handed over the aircraft to FAX.

Cole added that it is not feasible to return the fleet to operational condition by August 1 as only 80 percent of the fleet is expected to be operational by October 1. Bernama

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