by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
AIRASIA Group Bhd is set to resume its scheduled flights starting with Malaysia on April 29.
The group said in a statement that this will be followed by resumptions of domestic flights in Thailand and the Philippines on May 1, India on May 4, and Indonesia on May 7 — subject to approval from the authorities.
The resumption of services will initially be for selected key domestic routes, which will increase gradually to include international destinations around the network once the coronavirus situation improves and governments lift borders and travel restrictions.
AirAsia president (airlines) Bo Lingam said the company is very pleased to be able to fly again and serve its guests starting with domestic routes, and hopeful of resuming full operations as soon as possible.
“We have undertaken a thorough review of our guest handling procedures both on ground and onboard in light of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement last Friday.
Lingam added that AirAsia has been working closely with airport authorities to ensure that all relevant precautionary measures are in place to ensure a safe, pleasant and comfortable journey for everyone.
He also said the group will be putting safety and wellbeing of its guests and employees at the highest priority.
“We work actively with all our regulators, local governments, civil aviation and health authorities, including adhering to guidance from the World Health Organisation and International Civil Aviation Organisation, to ensure the highest standards of compliance and conformance are in place for every single flight we operate in our network,” he said.
Flights are already open for booking via its website, airasia.com, and mobile app. Guests may use their credit accounts to redeem these flights.
It also advised guests to practise the universally recommended protective and precautionary measures, including wearing a mask, social distancing and observing high personal hygiene.
“The aircraft, which are fitted with hospital-standard high efficiency particulate air filters, will also be sent for a thorough disinfection after each flight,” it said.
The low-cost carrier also told guests to stay updated via AirAsia’s travel advisories on airasia.com and social media platforms, and to check live updates on their flight status given the ever-changing situation at this time.
The AirAsia group has temporarily reduced and entirely suspended their flight operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Malaysia, the airline suspended all flight services from March 28 onwards, with its long-haul flight subsidiary, AirAsia X Bhd, suspending almost all flights.
AirAsia India has suspended all operations since March 25, after the Indian government issued a nationwide lockdown in the country.
Thai AirAsia is still operating domestic services as usual at reduced frequencies. However, its international flights have been suspended from March 22 until April 25, while Thai AirAsia X has grounded its fleet since March 16.
Philippines AirAsia cancelled flights between March 20 and April 14 due to the government’s directive to implement “community quarantine” in parts of the nation.
AirAsia Indonesia has also suspended all flight services as of April 1, considering the risk of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.