Tape on plane armrests ‘commonly used for cosmetic cabin repairs’: AirAsia X
Photographs of the interior of an AirAsia X plane with yellow tape pasted on some of its armrests went viral on social media on Monday.
Mr Edward Yong, a passenger on flight D7379 from Taipei to Kuala Lumpur, posted the photos on Facebook and said he felt “malu” (embarrassed in Malay) that the plane was held together with tape.
One photo in the post, which was shared more than 3,000 times, shows at least eight seats with layers of yellow tape on the armrests. It garnered more than 2,000 likes.
“Foreigners must be thinking they are going to a very backward country,” the passenger wrote.
Responding to The Straits Times’ queries, Mr Alvin Tan, the Malaysia-based, long-haul budget carrier’s head of engineering, said on Wednesday that the vinyl tape is “commonly used for cosmetic cabin repairs” and it is not a safety issue.
“Spare parts orders placed in August 2022 arrived last week and repair work is currently ongoing progressively to fix all of the arm caps,” he said, adding that a shortage of spare parts is affecting operators worldwide.
Mr Tan explained that the tape was a temporary measure to prevent flight disruptions.
The budget carrier’s founder, Mr Tony Fernandes, stepped down as AirAsia X acting group chief executive on November 2022.
According to a well-placed source, Mr Fernandes, the chief executive of Capital A, the holding company of AirAsia Aviation Group, wanted to focus on the parent company and lift the Practice Note 17 (PN17) status of AirAsia X.
PN17 is a tag given to financially distressed firms which can be delisted should they fail to regularise their finances within a certain time frame.
That same month, AirAsia X posted a net profit of RM25.1 million (S$7.58 million) in the three months ended in September 2022, compared with a net loss of RM652.5 million in the previous quarter.
On Jan 27, the carrier said the number of passengers who flew on AirAsia X in the October-to-December quarter rose 324 per cent over the preceding quarter.