by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE
SEPANG – AirAsia is expecting an increase of more than 70 international flight volume per week for the first week of border reopening starting on April 1, 2022.
Airasia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said the international flight number is expected to reach 250 weekly by the end of April.
“AirAsia welcomes the announcement by the Malaysian government to fully open international borders on April 1, we are ready.
“I believe the seamlessnes of travel will happen sooner than later,” he told reporters in a media briefing on the airlines preparation for border reopening here today.
He said since resuming its operations with travel bubbles and a focus on domestic services, the gradual resumption of international flying is already well underway in tandem with borders gradually reopening around the world.
With the continued easing of travel restrictions, the airline group has increased its domestic flight capacity by 156 per cent since October 2021 that kickstarted with the Langkawi travel bubble, and by 50 per cent for international flights since the announcement of borders reopening in April is made by the government on March 8, 2022.
A total of 75 aircraft are operating currently group-wide, he said.
This is also supported by the reopening of other countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam, said Riad.
While the airline currently has a number of international services already operating, the announcement of the nation’s reopening will provide a welcome boost to support additional capacity in many of its core international markets in line with significant pent-up demand.
Meanwhile, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd (AAAGL) Bo Lingam said the airlines earnings is expected to go back to pre-COVID level presumably by the end of the year with the hope that the fuel price goes down by then.
“Airasia applauds the governments around the region for their decision to reopen borders and removing travel restriction with minimal testing requirements.
“We are thrilled to be resuming more flights in all of our core markets in Malaysia, Thailand, the international destinations including Bali, Manila, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket and more, starting in April.
Domestic flying also continues to soar across the group with four new domestic routes launched in Malaysia, from Kuching to Langkawi, Penang to Sibu, Johor Bahru to Bintulu and Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Terengganu this year, he said.
“Regionally, we have seen similarly encouraging developments for domestic and international services in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. We will continue to review our network which evolves based on a number of factors including demand.
He said new services will be announced in due course as the world continues to gradually reopen.
“While our domestic services across the group have grown by 156 per cent in recent months due to significant consumer demand, and by 50 per cent for international, we expect to return to 100 per cent or more of pre-COVID domestic and international flying by the end of this year,” he added.