JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Covid-19 crisis has thrown the air transport sector into a level of uncertainty that can potentially change its business model.
AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said on Thursday that he did not know what the future of the passenger and cargo transportation business would be like after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We don't know what the conditions will be after Covid-19,” Fernandes said in a virtual press conference on September 24.
Fernandes, however, confirmed that AirAsia would not shut down any flight routes. All routes served by the low-cost carrier will continue to operate. Media reported that before the coronavirus pandemic, the airline flew to over 150 destinations.
The airlines will only reduce flight frequency from levels before the outbreak. “The number of destinations will remain the same, only the frequency will probably be reduced for some time,” Fernandes said.
In facing the current condition, the Malaysia-based airline plans to add more routes for domestic flights in several countries. For instance, AirAsia has opened two new domestic routes in Thailand, Fernandes said.
“Not many airlines open new routes (in these challenging times).”
He went on to say that short-haul flights or domestic routes have the opportunity to recover faster than flights between countries. This can be seen from occupancy rates of several domestic routes in Thailand and Malaysia, where they have reached the maximum limit.
“Business travel, intercontinental flights, first-class travel will take a long time to recover,” said Fernandes.
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