KUALA LUMPUR: There are no talks of a merger between national carrier Malaysia Airlines Berhad and budget airlines AirAsia, says Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah.
"On the status of a merger, there are no discussions as it is just at the planning stage," he said when replying to a supplementary question raised by Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PH-Ledang) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Aug 27).
Syed Ibrahim wanted to know the status of merger talks between the two airlines which was raised by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali in April, as an option to save them following the effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Earlier, Hasbi informed the House that the number of airline passengers had dropped drastically due to the pandemic.
"The decline in domestic and international flights began in March. The number of passengers dropped from 280,321 passengers a day in January to only 7,500 a day in March," he said.
He added that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) projected the number of passengers to contract further from about 110 million to about 55million in June.
Hasbi added that it has been forecasted that it will take 18 months for the domestic air travel to rebound and three years for international air travel.
To help ease the burden on the air travel industry, Hasbi said Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd is in discussion with airline companies on the implementation of lowering landing and parking charges.
He said these were among the measures in preparation for the opening up of air travel industry.
This includes holding discussions on implementing travel bubble with destinations with several regional countries.