Sunday, June 16

Grateful AirAsia dedicates Musa A320 plane to Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: AirAsia is dedicating one of its A320 airplanes to Sabah as a sign of appreciation for all the support the state has given to the airline.

Its group chief executive officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes who made the announcement yesterday, said the words ‘Thank You Sabah’ would be painted on the aircraft’s body.

“We don’t name planes very often and we have only done it for one Malaysian leader which is Tun Dr Mahathir. This airplane dedicated to Sabah will be called The Musa A320 and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is the second Malaysian to have AirAsia’s aircraft named after him,” Tony said.

“Our engineers are painting it now and we are hoping to launch it in three months in the presence of the chief minister. It is our thank you for all your support, Sabah and will be forever there, The Musa A320.”

Tony made the announcement at the Sabah International Business Luncheon Talk 2012 (SIBC 2012) where he was the guest speaker.

According to the director of AirAsia Berhad, he and his partner would never forget the people who were there to support them when they first started out 10 years ago.

“We needed RM20 million to start, we went to every bank in Peninsular Malaysia but were rejected. My partner said he knows the Finance Minister of Sabah whom he believed can understand our vision and will help us.

“We met with Datuk Musa and Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat; after listening to us, they said they would support us. They were the only two people in Malaysia who believed in us. Sabah Development Bank gave us a RM20 million loan. The sad thing was that we didn’t have money to pay for the processing and legal fees, so we never took the loan.

“We will never forget our true friends, people who were there when we were nothing. Thank you Datuk Musa and Sabah, AirAsia would not be here without Sabah,” he said.

Tony also said Sabahans did not realize what a great chief minister and cabinet they have in terms of pushing Sabah, and they really go 150 per cent out for the betterment of the state.

“We like Sabah; this is the greatest state in Malaysia by far and the 1Malaysia concept was started here before it was introduced throughout the nation,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Musa, who was the guest of honour, said when Tony and his partner came to see them 10 years ago, he had wondered why a company from Kuala Lumpur was asking for a loan from Sabah.

“As the Finance Minister, I was curious and as Tony made his presentation, I observed him and I noticed that he was genuine, sincere and very intelligent.

“These are the attributes that I, as a former businessman, noticed in him and that is why I approved the loan,” Musa said.