Deputy Transport Minister: Airlines may need three years to recover from Covid-19

KUALA LUMPUR: Airline companies may need three years to recover completely from the impact of Covid-19, says Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah (pic).

“There has been a downward trend in the demand from domestic and international travellers starting on March 1 this year.

"The demand has dropped from 280,321 passengers a day in January to 59,378 a day in September, ” he said.

Hasbi said this in reply to Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (BN-Padang Terap) who asked what was being done by the Transport Ministry to assist and revive low-cost airline industry.

He said based on the outlook for passenger traffic for Malaysia this year, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MavCom) expects a drop of between 26.6 million and 29.7 million or between 72.8% and 75.6%.

"This is compared to passenger traffic of some 109.2 million last year," he said.

As for the measures being taken by the Transport Ministry, Hasbi said that one was an agreement for Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to reduce their landing and parking charges through a contra mechanism.

He added that the leeway saw an increase in air travel services in the domestic sector.

“The Transport Ministry, together with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and airline companies will also continue the cooperation to increase awareness and the confidence among the people to use the airline services which will help recover the domestic tourism sector, ” he said.

Hasbi also said the Transport Ministry welcomes the initiatives to create travel bubbles to countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

"Through the travel bubble concept, passengers and flights from the countries listed in the green zones will be allowed to enter Malaysia based on the standard operating procedure.

“However the travel bubble suggestion is still dependent on the negotiations between the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the countries involved, ” he said.

Hasbi added that apart from these measures, some exemptions were given to airlines to continue their operations during the recovery movement control order.

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