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Former chairman of AirAsia passes away on-board plane

KUALA LUMPUR – A key player in the aviation industry, the former chairman of AirAsia Berhad, Pahamin A.Rajab, 77, has passed away due to a heart attack as shared by his son in-law, Malaysian actor Azhar Sulaiman via Instagram on Sunday (July 9) morning.

Pahamin who was a highly respected figure and played a pivotal role in shaping AirAsia’s growth and success, died on Saturday, 11.30 pm on the plane as he arrived in Heathrow airport to attend his grandson’s graduation ceremony.

His profound understanding of the industry, coupled with his visionary leadership, enabled Air Asia to revolutionise the way people travel and transformed the low-cost carrier, not only in Malaysia but also across the globe, into the giant it is today.

His unwavering dedication and commitment to the airline industry earned him immense respect from his peers and his influence extended beyond AirAsia, as he actively contributed to the development of the country’s aviation sector, advocating for advancements and best practices.

Aside from his professional achievements, Pahamin was also known for his humility, kindness and willingness to mentor young talents, nurturing future leaders thus encouraging innovation within the industry.

The news of his passing has left a void in the hearts of those who had the privilege to work with him, remembering him as a compassionate leader who was always approachable and willing to lend an ear.

AirAsia co-founder, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was quoted saying that there would have been no AirAsia if it wasn’t for Datuk Pahamin Rajab, describing him as a great Malaysian, a true patriot and a friend.

“We will come up with a fitting tribute. RIP, my dear friend and look over us from your final resting place,” he added.

The chief executive officer of AirAsia X, Kamarudin Meranun, had also announced and expressed his profound sadness on his Instagram account about the passing and loss of his brother-like, father and friend.

Their Majesties, Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shahand Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah have also conveyed their condolences to the family via a post on Istana Negara’s Facebook page.

Communicating their hopes for the family members to remain patient and strong, their Majesties also expressed their appreciation for his service and contributions to the country.

“Their majesties pray that the soul of the deceased be showered with mercy by Allah SWT and be placed among those who believed and do righteous deeds,” the statement wrote.

His family has left for London this morning to collect his remains.

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