AirAsia Says Aviation Business Should Recover in 3 Months

According to AirAsia Group, the aviation business could return to normal in three months if the region’s countries reopen their borders and lift strict travel restrictions, such as the mandatory quarantine and RT-PCR test.

AirAsia Group’s chief executive Tony Fernandes said the company had aircraft and workers available as demand rose. Following Langkawi’s reopening, AirAsia sold more than 300,000 tickets.

Mr. Fernandes assured that the industry would return to normal in three months if the borders “reopen tomorrow” without quarantine or RT-PCR test requirements for travelers. However, the reopening largely depends on each government’s decision.

Every country must take courageous steps to live with Covid-19, as they did with other diseases in the past, especially now that vaccines are administered worldwide and more drugs for coronavirus disease treatment have been developed.

“Asia-Pacific is behind Europe and the US. But I am optimistic as Singapore, Thailand and more have started to reopen,” Mr. Fernandes said.

Moreover, airline traffic seemed to recover after borders were unlocked, as flight numbers rose from 66 to 700 in September.

Mr. Fernandes said it would take six to nine months for the group to return to pre-pandemic levels, as the Chinese government maintains a zero-tolerance policy for Covid and will be the last nation to reopen to international tourists.

The tourism sector, especially for hotels and theme parks, could also face staff losses as workers find other jobs outside the industry due to a lack of recovery initiatives and reopening delays.

Therefore, AirAsia Group is also committed to resuming the “normal wage rate” for its employees within the next month and will allow those furloughed to return in January.

AirAsia, which has built three digital startups and an engineering company during the pandemic, plans to increase 50% revenue contribution from digital businesses by 2025. However, the group remains focused on growing the aviation business.

As lifestyle offerings in the digital business grow fast, the company will analyze the industry’s data to create a strategy focused on consumer needs.