More fiction than fact

In the aftermath of the still-missing Indonesia AirAsia QZ8501, both The Straits Times and Today have run similar headlines.





Oh boy, the nation is cursed. After reporting on Loch Ness Monsters, The Straits Times runs a sensationalist headline blaming a curse for the disappearance of the plane.  I guess we really shouldn’t be flying on any Malaysian airlines anymore huh.

Except that – Flight QZ8501 isn’t actually run by anyone in Malaysia. Indonesia AirAsia, who runs the flight route, isn’t even majority-owned by Malaysian carrier AirAsia.

Indonesia AirAsia ≠ AirAsia Berhad

AirAsia Berhad (the actual Malaysia carrier) owns 49% of Indonesia AirAsia, while the remaining 51% is owned by a private Indonesia company. In fact, Indonesia’s laws prevent foreign entities from majority ownership on domestic civil aviation operations.

Indonesia AirAsia was actually formed in 1999, as Awair (Air Wagon International). Flights were later suspended in 2002, and the airline returned in 2004 as an associate of AirAsia Berhad.  In December 2005, Awair was rebranded as Indonesia AirAsia, along with other AirAsia affiliated airlines in the region. Indonesia AirAsia’s callsign, “WAGON AIR”, still reflects the airline’s previous identity.

Saying Indonesia AirAsia is a Malaysian carrier is like pointing at the McDonald’s at Marina Square and saying it’s an American fast-food company. Yes, the chain is owned by a parent company based in the US, but it also completely disregards the existence of McDonald’s Singapore, a separate entity from it’s majority shareholder, and also the one that came up with the amazing, the immortal McSpicy.

Is There A Motive Here?

We all know that print media in Singapore can skew their news in a certain way to suit their narrative. For instance, usage of the word “ponding” across all mainstream media outlets to lessen the seriousness of the flooding. Is there a motive here by the press to unnecessarily put Malaysia aviation in negative light like this? Who is to gain? You be the judge.

Keeping readers updated about latest developments about an ongoing story is incredibly important. By running these stories, readers will be even less likely to want to take any Malaysian-linked airlines, no matter how vague or untrue the links may be. To the major local news outlets: stay calm and please report only the facts.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons