Malaysian airlines hope for a strong comeback with vaccine rollout

The vaccine rollout is expected to help the aviation industry recover, said Fernandes. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

The vaccine rollout and pent up travel demand spell a strong comeback for airlines, said Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

The AirAsia Group chief executive officer said that the vaccination programme will fuel the aviation sector’s recovery in the coming months.

“Vaccines being rolled out and strong demand will fuel a V-shaped recovery in coming months, ” he said in a statement.

Fernandes added that data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that there will be a rapid recovery in domestic air travel by 2022.

Despite the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in the country and reintroduction of the movement control order, Fernandes is optimistic that the vaccine rollout will help the airline weather through the pandemic.

“In Malaysia, although we are seeing a new wave, we see this as short term pain for long term gain. Things will get better and this is already proven in countries where vaccination progress is highest.

“Although Asean countries are already in early stages of vaccination, many country authorities are committed to meeting their targets of inoculating the majority of their citizens by the end of the year, ” he said.

Fernandes added that travel bubbles will be effective in helping with post-pandemic tourism recovery.

“Travel bubbles will also support a fast rebound in the travel industry as countries deliver high vaccination rates and gain control of the virus, ” he explained.

In a separate news, Malaysia Airlines recently transported over 1,000 students home for Hari Raya.

The students were ferried via charter and commercial flights focusing on Sabah and Sarawak routes between Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

“Hari Raya is a time where families reunite and this year, with the challenges of the pandemic, we worked closely with the relevant authorities to ensure safe and secure travel for these students, some of who have not been home for more than a year, ” said Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail.

Izham said the carrier will also continue to provide critical air connectivity throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to support various humanitarian and medical missions.

“The airline continues to mount flights subject to approval by relevant authorities with strict adherence to safety and health SOP to ensure the well-being and comfort of all passengers, ” he said.

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