Malaysia Airlines operates rescue and repatriation flights amid RMCO, CMCO

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA Airlines Bhd has continued its rescue and repatriation mission, transporting stranded citizens back to their home countries amid the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in the country, as well as Conditional MCO in certain states.

It said the situation has brought upon opportunities for the national carrier to fly to new cities outside its usual network, which include international destinations across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and even Africa such as Cam Rahn, South Sudan, Cairo, Turkmenbashi, Turkmenabat , Dili, Nadi, and Port Moresby where few commercial flights are available.

To date, the airline has operated 218 rescue and repatriation flights through scheduled and chartered services since March 2020, utilising its A380, A350, A330-300 and B737-800 aircraft.

Group chief operations officer Ahmad Luqman Mohd Azmi said out of the 218 flights, 168 were charter services through strategic collaboration with government ministries and individual organisations.

So far, the airline has flown over 20,000 passengers safely back to their loved ones.

“It has been a challenging yet exciting experience for us to operate in these new markets under the current circumstances, due to the ever-changing health and safety requirements, as well as strict border controls by the respective countries.

“However, active engagements with the respective embassies, ministries, government agencies, organisations and regulatory bodies have made it possible,” he said in a statement today.

Over the same period, the airlines’ sister company, MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd has worked closely with governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to transport over 2,000 tonnes of medical equipment and disaster-relief provisions to impacted regions around the globe.

“This includes ventilators, surgical gloves, sterile isolation gowns and protection suits with goggles for various organisations via over 50 passenger-to-cargo (P2C) and cargo-in-cabin (CIC) flights.

“The CIC allows the airline to carry cargo on seats, overhead stowage compartments, closets and under the seats depending on the size of the boxes,” it added.

It said the MABkargo team toiled hard to ensure all shipments are delivered according to schedule, resulting in the gradual improvement of the company’s export throughput numbers.

The encouraging trend has eventually increased the numbers whereby the export throughput figures in August 2020 have now matched pre-COVID-19 level, contributed by the reopening of more economic sectors and the usage of P2C flights to compensate the loss of belly capacity.

Ahmad Luqman said the demand for medical equipment worldwide has kept its aircraft flying and the cargo terminals busy.

“Our freighter schedules are adjusted to meet customers’ requirements. Despite lesser flights in the network, we continue to support the value-chain of day-to-day business and ensure minimal disruptions,” he said.