PETALING JAYA: AirAsia has apologised over an article published on its in-flight travel magazine travel 3sixty April edition, which appeared to be sarcastic towards the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight.
In a statement on Saturday, AirAsia Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said that the article was printed before the tragic incident took place, but will remove the magazine from all flights on AirAsia aircraft immediately.
"With deep regret and remorse I would like to sincerely apologise for any offense caused by the pilot's perspective article in the latest issue of travel 3Sixty magazine," he said.
Kamarudin, who is also the publisher of the magazine said they have addressed the issue to ensure that it does not happen in the future.
"A disciplinary action will be taken to the editorial team as well," he said.
The article has earned the wrath from netizens soon after a photo of an article from the budget airline's in-flight magazine travel 3Sixty, made its rounds in the cyberspace, Friday night.
The article was a feature on global positioning system (GPS) navigation used in flights, and it included past incidents where pilots have landed in the wrong airport.
The circulated photo shows the last passage, which reads, "Training and Preparation - Pilot training in AirAsia is continuous and very thorough.
"Rest assured that your captain is well prepared to ensure your plane will never get lost. Have a safe flight," it read.
Kamarudin, who is also the magazine publisher, explained that section was a monthly column on aviation written by Capt Lim Khoy Hing, a retired pilot who formally worked with AirAsia as well as Malaysia Airlines.
As a monthly contributor, he said, Capt Lim prepared all of his articles months in advance before the magazine goes to print.
"Unintentionally and regrettably, the current issue carry an article that discuss about GPS and Radar, which was printed a month before its issue date.
"This is a truly difficult time for the nation and words cannot describe how I personally feel of this incident.
"It truly saddens me that this article was released at such an inopportune moment," he said.
In an immediate reaction, AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, tweeted, "As soon as we were informed on Twitter we withdrew. Once again apologises. It has been a difficult time for all in the industry".
The article came less than a month since the MH370 incident, after the Beijing-bound aircraft disappeared from radar on March 8 and it was believed to have ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.