AirAsia Sees Malaysia’s Reopening As Key Milestone In Recovery

Credit: Rob Finlayson

AirAsia Group said the rebuilding of its network will be kickstarted by the lifting of most border restrictions in Malaysia from April 1.

AirAsia Malaysia, the Kuala Lumpur (KUL)-based arm of AirAsia Group, was largely grounded from March 2020 until the 2021 fourth quarter. The airline group said in a statement that the “gradual resumption of international flying is already well underway in tandem with borders gradually reopening around the world.”

Passengers flying to Malaysia will no longer have to quarantine after arrival.

Domestic flying in Malaysia started rebounding in September after the leisure destination Langkawi (LGK) was allowed to welcome vaccinated passengers from other parts of the country. International passengers were allowed to travel to LGK in November.

AirAsia Malaysia said it has recently launched four new domestic routes: Kuching (KCH)-LGK; Penang (PEN)-Sibu (SBW); Johor Bahru (JHB)-Bintulu (BTU); and Kota Kinabalu (BKI)-Kuala Terengganu (TGG).

International flying is expected to pick up from April 1. “While [AirAsia Malaysia] currently has a number of international services already operating, the announcement of the nation's reopening will provide a welcome boost to support additional capacity in many of its core international markets in line with significant pent up demand,” AirAsia Group said.

AirAsia noted that Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are also easing COVID-19 border restrictions.

“We would like to applaud the governments around the region for their decision to reopen borders, removing travel restrictions with minimal testing requirements, thus making travel easy for everyone,” AirAsia Group CEO Bo Lingam said. “We’re thrilled to be resuming more flights in all of our core markets in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia."

"Regionally, we have seen similarly encouraging developments for domestic and international services in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia," Lingam continued. "We will continue to review our network, which evolves based on a number of factors, including demand. New services will be announced in due course as the world continues to gradually reopen.”

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.