Malaysia’s Borders Reopen, Boosting Airlines

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Malaysia’s COVID-19 border restrictions were largely lifted on April 1, providing a particular boost to AirAsia Group and Malaysia Airlines as the carriers rebuild their international networks.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said it has “carried out effective safety oversight on airports and airlines operators in Malaysia and is satisfied with the level of compliance to regulations and the new norms. This is encouraging as the aviation industry is poised for a safe and secure restart.”

CAAM said it expected more than 100 international flights to arrive at Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on April 1.

AirAsia said it operated flights on April 1 to KUL from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“More service resumption, as well as new unique routes, will be announced in due course as the world continues to reopen safely,” AirAsia said in a statement.

“This is a significant day for everyone in AirAsia as we can finally welcome international tourists and travelers back to Malaysia after two years,” AirAsia Group CEO Bo Lingam said. “We have been preparing rigorously from an operational standpoint and all of our [passengers] can be assured that their travel experience is as safe, seamless and convenient as it can be. We would like to once again applaud and thank governments around the region for reopening their borders and relaxing travel restrictions.”

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat added: “Today marks an important milestone in the long journey towards the recovery of the travel industry in the region. We have woken our planes from hibernation and have already started painting the skies red.”

Malaysia Airlines this week resumed service to India, among other countries, including flights from KUL to Bangalore (BLR), Chennai (MAA), Hyderabad (HYD), Mumbai (BOM) and New Delhi (DEL).

Malaysia Airports MD Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said that during the last several weeks “we have held daily engagements with various airport stakeholders [in preparation for the restart] to ensure that airport operations run like clockwork.”

Aaron Karp

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