As reported, the resumption of the low-cost carrier’s Malaysian operations precedes the planned restart of flights in Thailand (1 May 2020), the Philippines (1 May 2020), India (4 May 2020) and Indonesia (7 May 2020). All flights are subject to approval from the authorities.
Strict health controls and social distancing protocols have been implemented in compliance with regulations.
The resumption of services will initially be for the aforementioned domestic routes. Services, however, will gradually increase to include international destinations around the region. This is likely to take place when the situation improves and border and travel restrictions are lifted.
Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman, AirAsia Group said: “Flexibility remains the key to our business model. Our strong foundation, coupled with robust relationships with suppliers and partners have enabled us to return to service stronger amid these unprecedented challenging times.
“We do not intend to take any new aircraft deliveries this year and aim to end 2020 with 242 aircraft, a net reduction of one aircraft from last year.”
30% COST REDUCTION PLAN
He added: “We are reexamining our order-book with Airbus. The decision to sell and lease our aircraft in late 2018, has provided us greater flexibility to scale back growth than owning aircraft today. We were also able to lock in the best price for those aircraft at prime market conditions while eliminating the residual risk of owning aircraft.”
This and all other measures are expected to result in at least a 30% year-on-year cost reduction in 2020.
Regarding the service resumption, Kamarudin says, AirAsia is working with all relevant regulators, local governments, civil aviation and health authorities.
It is also adhering to guidance from the World Health Organisation and International Civil Aviation Organisation to ensure high standards of compliance and conformance for all flights.
“We will require guests to wear a mask and practise universally recommended protective precautionary measures, including social distancing and observing high personal hygiene.
“All our aircraft, which are fitted with hospital-standard High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, will also be sent for a thorough disinfection every night stop.”
Meanwhile, AirAsia is continuing to diversify its revenue base with a more ‘rigorous and market friendly approach’, to further expand its digital and ancillary businesses. These include its Santan inflight menu brand, Teleport cargo and logistics platform and BigPay e-wallet.
“Other than offering normal takeaways, Santan has launched a drive-thru service. This caters to the increasing demands during the restricted movement order and enables small vendors to market their food through the Santan website during the Ramadan month.
“Going forward, we are working on the blueprint to start a franchise for Santan,” Kamarudin remarked.
According to the airline, Teleport is prioritising the transport of medical supplies to frontliners and emergency medical responders and operated a number of chartered flights for cargo shipment.
Kamarudin commented: “AirAsia also participated in a number of recovery flights initiated by governments and private companies during the period, providing a boost to its charter service.”
SAVE OUR SHOPS INITIATIVE
In order to help as many businesses as possible, the carrier has launched the Save Our Shops initiative to support struggling travel retailers during the pandemic. As reported, the concept encourages travel retailers to sign up as merchants on AirAsia’s Ourshop e-commerce marketplace without paying any commission or listing fees.
Customers can peruse products online and have them delivered from shops that are closed via Teleport.
AirAsia Foundation has also launched an e-pay donation drive in collaboration with BigPay.
Kamarudin concluded: “Despite the unprecedented environment, we are continuing to build on our strengths and especially our brand to emerge stronger when normalcy returns. We hope to to sustain the 1.3 million jobs and counting in the sector across the region, directly and indirectly and double our economic contribution to ASEAN’s GDP from $15.3bn in 2018 to $35bn in 2030.”
Asia & Pacific,