Airlines to rebound on vaccine approval

Airlines are in a strong position to recover quicker and the CEO believes they are going to recover

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by ARIF KARTONO

AIRLINE industry recovery hinges on vaccine approval and international travel ban before it could return to the pre-Covid-19 flight frequency level, AirAsia Group Bhd CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes said.

“Domestic airlines are doing very well but demand is important. As soon as the borders are open and I foresee it’s not too far away. I’ve been talking to the health officials, the government and Asean governments as well, I think there’s a huge amount of pent up demand.

“I remain very optimistic, most of the countries that AirAsia flies to are green zone countries, so I don’t see a major issue,” he told reporters after the launch of RedRecords’ first official single Passcode by Jannine Weigel recently.

He added that the low-cost carrier is focused on recording in-flight frequencies in the Asean region particularly in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Fernandes boasted optimism saying the airline has previously survived other crises and emerged stronger ever referring to the Sept 11 accident that severely dented passengers’ confidence in aircraft travelling.

“Airlines are in a strong position to recover quicker and we are going to recover,” he said.

He added that the discovery of a vaccine and its commercialisation are among the key factors that will ensure the industry’s recovery as air travel demand collapsed across the board in the wake of the pandemic.

In the same event, he also denied news that AirAsia Japan suspended all its flights for most of October.

“I don’t know where this came out from, but obviously we are re-valuing and evaluating all our operations at any one moment. We will have to wait and see, but there is nothing planned at the moment, it’s a rumour,” he said.

He reiterated that the company would continue to focus on Asean and has no plans to close operations in Japan.

The group stated that it has taken the opportunity to fast track and enhance other areas of business, including its content business which will play a major role in its transition into a super app and digital company.

Fernandes said his latest move is to pivot and venture back into music, adding that music will be opening a lot of opportunities for AirAsia.

“There is an opportunity in streaming, maybe there will be an AirAsia radio station when you fly on AirAsia soon. This will help us drive our non-airline operation sales,” he said.

The group announced the addition of RedRecords to its extensive offering back in late 2019.

Produced by the Grammy-nominated record producer Tommy Brown, renowned for his work with Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Fifth Harmony and more, Passcode is a euphoric dance-pop anthem, also co-written by Canadian singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez.