Airlines see surge in bookings to international destinations

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are getting their passports ready and drawing up their travel bucket list for when the country reopens its international borders on April 1.

Since the announcement of the reopening, local airlines have recorded a surge in daily bookings for overseas trips, especially within the Asian region.

AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said bookings for international travel have doubled since the announcement.

“Popular destinations include Indonesia (Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali), Singapore, Philippines (Manila), Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), Bangladesh (Dhaka) and more, starting in April.

“This was also supported by the reopening of other countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam, and we expect to return to 100% or more of pre-Covid-19 domestic and international flying by the end of this year,” he added.

Riad said as a safety measure, AirAsia has successfully migrated 95% of its guests to contactless self-check-in via the airasia Super App.

An AirAsia Malaysia spokesman said it is following a “dynamic pricing mechanism” that is dependent on supply and demand, similar to other airlines.

“Therefore, we encourage travellers to plan their travels and book their flights early to avoid a hike in ticket price as demand increases,” the spokesman added.

A Malaysia Airlines spokesman said it has seen a 70% increase in daily average bookings compared with February, and is thus increasing flight frequencies.

“Popular destinations include India, Australia and the United Kingdom, and we are looking to achieve approximately 70% of our pre-Covid-19 capacity by the end of 2022.

“We also launched the Malaysia Airlines Travel Fair last Friday, so we expect demand to continue to pick up as people seek to ‘revenge travel’,” the spokesman added.

Malindo Air public relations and government affairs director Raja Sa’adi Raja Amrin said the airline saw an “encouraging increase” in ticket sales of more than 30%.

“We can see that Langkawi is still by far the most popular destination for Malaysian travellers while ticket sales to Singapore and Australia (Perth) are also picking up,” he said.

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